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February 2018
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La Liga: Cristiano Ronaldo scores hat-trick as Real Madrid warm up for PSG with big win
 
(Madrid, feb 11, 2018):Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick as Real Madrid warmed up for their Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain with a big 5-2 victory over Real Sociedad in La Liga.

Zinedine Zidane's side have not scaled their usual heights this season and this was still not perfect, but they do look to be finding some form just in time for a potentially season-defining tie with the French side.

They blew Real Sociedad apart in the first half at the Santiago Bernabeu, taking the lead inside a minute through Lucas Vazquez and finding themselves four goals to the good by the interval.

Toni Kroos got Real's other goal on Saturday, as they made it three wins and a draw from their last four La Liga games, with 18 goals scored in that time.

The defensive lapses that allowed the visitors to pull two goals back late on will be a concern for Zidane, though.

Real are still a huge 16 points behind unbeaten league leaders Barcelona, but they are now back up to third above Valencia, who play Levante on Sunday.

With the visit of PSG in mind, Zidane rested both Gareth Bale and Casemiro to hand starts to Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez.

The latter has played more games for Real under Zidane than anyone else and he opened the scoring after just 49 seconds, heading home a Ronaldo cross.

Without their leading scorer Willian Jose due to injury, and with a dreadful past record at the Bernabeu, the visitors quickly crumbled.

Asensio and Marcelo combined superbly to set up Ronaldo to make it 2-0 before the half-hour mark, and Kroos made it three with a trademark curling strike on his right foot from the edge of the area.

Ronaldo then headed home a Luka Modric corner, and it could have been more than 4-0 at half-time, too, with Karim Benzema and Ronaldo both hitting the post from close range.

They could not keep up the same intensity after the restart, however. Instead, Juanmi headed against the post for the Basque side, who pulled one back on 74 minutes as substitute Jon Bautista was given space to slot past Keylor Navas.

Ronaldo then completed his hat-trick, pouncing to finish after Geronimo Rulli had spilled a shot from Bale, on as a substitute.

It was Ronaldo's 11th league goal of the season, with seven coming in the last four games.

Asier Illarramendi, former Real Madrid midfielder, then made it 5-2 from close range.


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