Sports / Soccer

Ronaldo's bullet header helps Real beat Elche

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-02-23 19:26

Ronaldo's bullet header helps Real beat Elche

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema celebrates after he scored a goal against Elche during their Spanish first division soccer match at the Martinez Valero stadium in Elche, February 22, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]


Earlier Real Sociedad came out on top in a 4-3 thriller against Sevilla when Xabi Prieto headed a late winner.

A Luciano Vietto goal after 71 minutes gave Villarreal a 1-0 home win over Eibar and Athletic Bilbao beat visiting Rayo Vallecano 1-0 with a late Aritz Aduriz strike.

Real once again started by deploying Lucas Silva in midfield with James Rodriguez and Sami Khedira injured and Asier Illarramendi still out of favour with coach Carlos Ancelotti.

Ronaldo was unfortunate with his early strike from the left of the area that hit the woodwork but he then fluffed a shot with the goal gaping after being found by Gareth Bale.

The visitors pushed forward and the Elche rearguard resorted to some combative tackles to keep them at bay.

Full back Eduardo Albacar was booked midway through the first half after several fouls on Bale on the wing. Then early in the second half Aaron Niguez should have been dismissed for a reckless two-footed lunge on the Welshman.

While Benzema's acrobatic effort was ruled out in the first half he scored with a more mundane goal when he tapped in after a David Lomban clearance rebounded off keeper Przemyslaw Tyton and fell to the France striker.

Ronaldo started the game with a return of just three goals from six league games since Christmas and, although still not at his best, showed his usual desire and was rewarded with Real's second goal of the night.

The win put some daylight between Real and Barca, whose 11-match winning run came to an end with a surprise 1-0 defeat by Malaga at the Nou Camp, at the top of the table.

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