Ronaldo and Real preserve 10-point margin over Barça


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The Independent Football

Real Madrid maintained their 10-point lead at the top of La Liga with a comfortable 5-0 home win over Espanyol last night. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring with his 30th league goal of the season, before strikes from Sami Khedira, two goals from Gonzalo Higuain and a Kaka effort sealed the win.

Ten-man Barcelona battled to a 3-1 win over Sporting Gijon in La Liga on Saturday, despite the absence of the suspended Lionel Messi. Andres Iniesta gave the Catalan side the lead, only for Gerard Pique to be dismissed for a cynical foul, before David Barral equalised for Gijon.

Seydou Keita, who recently revealed he was "flattered" to be linked to Liverpool, scored with a late curling effort to restore Barcelona's lead, before Xavi sealed the win.

Athletic Bilboa prepared for their Europa League encounter with Manchester United on Thursday with a 2-0 victory over Real Sociedad in a lively Basque derby. Arsenal loanee Carlos Vela had a goal disallowed for Sociedad but a Markel Susaeta double secured the win.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his return from a three-match suspension with a 13-minute hat-trick to guide Milan to a 4-0 away win over Palermo.

Milan, who take a 4-0 lead into their Champions League last 16 second-leg tie against Arsenal tomorrow, are now three points clear at the top of Serie A, after Juventus were held 1-1 at home to Chievo.