La Liga - Ronaldo and Bale on target as Real Madrid thrash woeful Betis

La Liga, Estadio Benito Villamarin – Real Betis 0 Real Madrid 5 (Ronaldo 10, Bale 25, Benzema 45, Di Maria 61, Morata 90).

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La Liga - Ronaldo and Bale on target as Real Madrid thrash woeful Betis
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Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring for Real Madrid against Real Betis (Reuters)

Real Madrid moved level on points with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid after a convincing 5-0 win at struggling Real Betis.

Goals from newly-crowned Ballon d’Or Cristiano Ronaldo and fellow forwards Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema put the visitors 3-0 up at half-time.

Madrid continued to dominate, with Angel Di Maria adding a spectacular fourth just after the hour mark, while substitute Alvaro Morata rolled home a late fifth.

The result means Madrid - who have won eight matches in a row and are unbeaten since the Clasico on October 26 - move on to 50 points alongside leaders Barca and in-form Atletico, although they both play on Sunday.

Betis are bottom of La Liga, and it showed as Madrid played well within themselves in an easy victory.

Ronaldo opened the scoring with a trademark long-range drive after cutting past two defenders. Former Charlton goalkeeper Stephan Anderson did not move, but he had no chance due to the pace of the strike.

Sergio Ramos was fortunate to stay on the pitch after a two-footed lunge on Leo Baptistao, and Madrid soon doubled their lead as Bale lashed a swerving free-kick past Andersen, who again stood static but could have saved this one.

Betis tried to fight back, with a super low cross from Baptistao bouncing away from Ruben Castro for their best chance, but they never really convinced going forward as Diego Lopez - who has now kept Iker Casillas out of La Liga for a year - barely made a save.

And Madrid landed a hammer blow seconds before the break as Benzema smashed the ball home after fine work from Luka Modric.

The pattern continued, as Ronaldo missed a one-on-one with Andersen, who also saved well from Benzema.

Di Maria eventually added a fourth with a long-range thunderbolt low into the right corner after Betis half-cleared a corner. It was a clean, rapid strike with the keeper unsighted by a crowded penalty area.

Betis offered little going forward in the latter stages, with Real spurning a hatful of chances to extend their lead as both sides used their bench to rest weary legs.

Morata did find the net in the last minute though, the highly-rated young forward stroking the ball past Andersen after Ronaldo mis-hit a bicycle kick into his path. Morata is being linked with a loan move to a Premier League club this window, although his third Liga goal of the season may convince Carlo Ancelotti to keep him in reserve.

Madrid in particular have to deal with a packed schedule – next up is a Copa Del Rey clash against Espanyol in three days, followed by three Liga matches in one week.

Rayo had defender Jose Raul Baena sent off in the 18th minute and lost 2-0 at promoted Elche, while mid-table Granada and Osasuna drew 0-0 at Granada's Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium.

In the late game, former Spain forward Sergio Garcia scored a late winner to give Espanyol a 1-0 win at home to Celta Vigo that lifted Barcelona's second club to eighth.

In the day’s other games, Rayo Vallecano had defender Jose Raul Baena sent off in the 18th minute and lost 2-0 at promoted Elche, while mid-table Granada and Osasuna drew 0-0 at Granada's Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium.

In the late game, former Spain forward Sergio Garcia scored a late winner to give Espanyol a 1-0 win at home to Celta Vigo that lifted Barcelona's second club to eighth.

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