Blood, goals for Ronaldo as Madrid scores 7 to end poor run
By TALES AZZONI
MADRID (AP) Despite watching Cristiano Ronaldo go off covered in blood, Real Madrid fans got to celebrate at home again with the team's biggest win of the season in the Spanish league.
Ronaldo, who left the game late with a cut to his face, scored twice as Madrid routed Deportivo La Coruna 7-1 Sunday, ending a three-match winless streak at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and easing the pressure on coach Zinedine Zidane and his players.
"The players needed a game like this, a victory with a lot of goals," Zidane said. "It's always good to score seven times at home. It's not something that happens very often so we are happy about it. We have to keep this momentum going."
Gareth Bale and Nacho Fernandez also scored twice, and Luka Modric added another goal for Madrid as it regained fourth place in the standings. Madrid remains 19 points behind leader Barcelona, which later routed Real Betis 5-0 in Seville with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez each scoring a pair of goals.
At the start of the league's second half, Barcelona is 11 points in front of second-placed Atletico Madrid and 14 points ahead of Valencia. Atletico lost ground after a 1-1 home draw against Girona on Saturday, while Valencia lost 2-1 at Las Palmas.
Madrid is five points behind Valencia but has a game in hand.
Ronaldo had to leave with about five minutes remaining after being hit by defender Fabian Schar's boot while scoring the team's sixth goal with a header. He was attended on the field for a while and could not continue as blood spilled over his face.
While walking off the field, with his face still stained by the blood, Ronaldo asked for the doctor's cell phone to take a look at the injury.
Zidane said the Portugal forward needed "two or three stitches but was fine."
Madrid had already made three substitutions, but the much-needed victory was already secured by then.
The fans who had loudly jeered the team in recent matches were cheering on their feet after the final whistle at the Bernabeu. The easy win followed a series of poor results that all but ended Madrid's title chances.
"We played a perfect match," Madrid midfielder Casemiro said.
Deportivo, in the relegation zone and winless in five games, gave Madrid an early scare when Adrian Lopez opened the scoring midway through the first half.
Nacho and Bale helped Madrid rally before halftime, and each scored again in the second half along with Modric. Bale's first goal came from a neat left-footed shot that was curled into the top corner by the far post.
Ronaldo, who hadn't found the net in three games and had been among those criticized by fans, scored with a shot from close range just a few minutes before getting injured. He did not celebrate.
Barcelona scored five second-half goals against midtable Real Betis after an even first half at Benito Villamarin Stadium in Seville.
Ivan Rakitic opened the scoring, then Messi and Suarez took over and added to their scoring runs.
Messi is the league's scoring leader with 19 goals, and Suarez has 15.
Messi's second goal late in the game was one to admire, with the Argentine entering the area and going past two defenders before calmly finding the net.
Maxi Gomez scored a second-half winner as Celta Vigo rallied to defeat struggling Real Sociedad 2-1 and move closer to the Champions League spots.
Striker Willian Jose put the hosts ahead early in the first half - but later missed a penalty kick - as forward Iago Aspas equalized for Celta.
It was the second consecutive win for Celta, which is now seventh in the standings.
Real Sociedad, in 15th place, has lost three in a row.
Joseba Zaldua scored in the 90th as Leganes salvaged a 2-2 draw at Alaves after trailing by two goals for much of the second half.
Munir El Haddadi and Alfonso Pedraza put the hosts ahead with quick goals after halftime, and Gabriel Pires pulled Leganes closer in the 75th.
Leganes stayed 13th in the 20-team standings, while Alaves was 16th.
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Updated January 21, 2018