La Liga review: Ronaldo leads Madrid the way; Valencia win at last


Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice to help Real Madrid to a 4-2 La Liga win over Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu and edge to within a point of leaders Barcelona.

The Portugal international opened the scoring in the third minute after being set up by Karim Benzema, only for Javier Eraso to restore parity shortly after.

Goals from James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos saw Madrid go 3-1 up before the break, but they briefly found themselves in difficulty when Raphael Varane was shown his second yellow in the 83rd minute.

Ronaldo made sure Madrid wrapped up maximum points with his second goal of the day, though, with Gorka Elustondo's 90th-minute strike nothing more than a consolation goal.

Valencia won their first La Liga game since the appointment of Gary Neville as their head coach back in December. Neville finally got his first league victory as a manager at the 10th attempt as Valencia recorded a hard-fought 2-1 win over Espanyol to end their poor run of form.

Oscar Duarte opened the scoring for Espanyol shortly after the interval, but late goals from Alvaro Negredo and Real Madrid loanee Denis Cheryshev gave Valencia reasons to celebrate after all.

Villarreal saw off Malaga 1-0 courtesy of a single Roberto Soldado strike as they remain fourth in the table, holding a comfortable 11-point lead over fifth-placed Sevilla ahead of Sunday's action.

Deportivo La Coruna played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Real Betis. Alejandro Bergantinos gifted Depor the lead after 15 minutes, but goals from Charly Musonda and Juan Vargas saw Betis go 2-1 up at half-time. Faycal Fajr salvaged a draw with his 51st-minute strike.