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Ronaldo-less Real drubs Depor while Messi triggers Barca blitz

China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-28 07:07

 Ronaldo-less Real drubs Depor while Messi triggers Barca blitz

Lionel Messi fires home for Barcelona during its 7-1 rout of Osasuna at Camp Nou, Barcelona, on Wednesday. The Argentine superstar struck twice to help keep Barca atop the La Liga standings. Manu Fernandez / Ap

BARCELONA, Spain - Real Madrid again made light of the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo as it crushed Deportivo la Coruna 6-2 to maintain the upper hand in the La Liga title race on Wednesday.

Madrid and Barcelona are locked on 78 points at the top of the standings, but Real has a game in hand over its title rival.

Barca remains on top thanks to its better head-to-head record as Lionel Messi struck twice to relegate Osasuna in a 7-1 thrashing.

Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane made nine changes from the lineup that lost 3-2 to Barca on Sunday to reignite the title race.

Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and the injured Gareth Bale were left off the Madrid roster for a third straight away league game, but again their absence wasn't missed.

"It is the hardest job for a coach. When they play like they did today, then maybe they won't play in the next game," said Zidane.

"We know I have a phenomenal group of players and all of them are ready for the challenge between now and the end of the season."

Alvaro Morata smashed home at the near post to give Real the perfect start after less than a minute.

James Rodriguez then added a second from Lucas Vazquez's cross as the visitor threatened to run riot inside the first 20 minutes.

However, the European champion has now managed just one shutout in its past 15 games as its defense was breached once more when Florin Andone turned home Gael Kakuta's misfire 10 minutes before the break.

'Thank you, Leo!'

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