Real Madrid in win over Rayo Vallecano

Rayo Vallecano 0 – 2 Real Madrid

Real Madrid team scorers
Cristiano Ronaldo 68
James Rodriguez 73
Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the first goal in his side’s 2-0 win away to Rayo Vallecano. Photograph: Alberto Martin/EPA

Cristiano Ronaldo headed his 300th goal for Real Madrid in a laboured 2-0 La Liga victory at neighbouring Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday that kept the gap to the leaders, Barcelona, down to four points with eight games left.

Fresh from thrashing Granada 9-1 at the weekend, when Ronaldo hit five, Real needed a win at Rayo’s Vallecas stadium after Barcelona strolled to a 4-0 home win over Almería to open a seven-point advantage over their arch-rivals.

The in-form Luis Suárez scored twice and Lionel Messi ended a three-game goal drought, with Marc Bartra also getting on the scoresheet at the Camp Nou.

Real struggled to exert any control over lowly Rayo and missed a host of chances before Ronaldo scored his 37th La Liga goal of the season with a header from Dani Carvajal’s cross in the 68th minute.

The prolific Portugal forward, who is five clear of Messi at the top of the scoring chart, is the third player after Raúl (323) and Alfredo Di Stéfano (307) to reach 300 goals for Real, but has needed only 288 matches, compared with Raúl’s 741 and Di Stéfano’s 396.

James Rodríguez made it 2-0 with a sharp finish from Ronaldo’s lay-off six minutes later to leave Real on 70 points, five ahead of the third-placed champions Atlético Madrid, who won 2-0 at home to Real Sociedad on Tuesday.

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