MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo became only the second player ever to score 300 goals in La Liga as his double fired Real Madrid to a 3-1 victory over 10-man Getafe on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Gareth Bale opened the scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu before Ronaldo followed Lionel Messi in hitting his 300th and 301st goals after just 286 matches in the Spanish top flight. Messi needed 334 to reach the same mark.
Getafe’s Loic Remy was sent off in the 47th minute for a second yellow card but the visitors still threatened a comeback at 2-0, when Francisco Portillo converted a penalty, awarded for a foul by Nacho on Jorge Molina.
Ronaldo had the last word, however, and his contribution is timely given Real now turn their attention to what could be a season-defining Champions League second leg with PSG on Tuesday, in which they lead 3-1.
“It’s the match we hoped for,” said Real boss Zinedine Zidane. “We prepared very seriously for our Tuesday match. We will have to play in that game with a different intensity certainly, but we are ready for Tuesday.”
In La Liga, Real move seven points behind second-placed Atletico Madrid, who play Barcelona on Sunday, while Getafe stay 10th.
Bale also put his hand up for a starting spot in France by capping a lively display with a goal. He almost had a second late on but a curling shot nipped the post.
The Welshman’s place at the Parc des Princes is not assured, however, his 90 minutes here perhaps even an indicator that his rest is to come in midweek.
But, on a night when his 117th La Liga appearance saw him pass David Beckham as the division’s most capped British player, Bale delivered a timely reminder of his quality.
Marcelo, back from injury, also came on for 25 minutes as a substitute, and is likely now to face PSG, but the same cannot be said of injured duo Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, who were both absent again.
Zidane started with the full attacking compliment of Ronaldo, Bale, Karim Benzema and Isco, with Benzema and Ronaldo the most advanced and the other two allowed to drift.
Sergio Ramos and Isco both challenged for Benzema’s deep cross to the back post in the 24th minute and as the ball dropped invitingly eight yards out, Bale applied the finish.
Perhaps buoyed by his goal and, now positioned off the left, Bale was playing with a swagger, lofting one excellent ball through to Benzema, and then later nicking possession and dancing his way through the Getafe midfield.
It was no surprise when Ronaldo doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time. Benzema fooled the Getafe defence with a superb reverse pass before his partner dummied inside and drilled the ball into the far corner.
Getafe’s task became even tougher two minutes into the second half as Remy, previously of Chelsea and Newcastle, clattered Nacho in the neck with his arm.
He was awarded a second yellow card by referee Mario Lopez but it could have merited a direct red.
The game looked over but Getafe were handed a lifeline when Lopez gave a generous penalty for what seemed a fair challenge from Nacho on Molina. Portillo coolly lifted it down the middle.
Ronaldo dashed their hopes, however, in the 78th minute heading in Marcelo’s cross at the near post.
It was Ronaldo’s final contribution before being taken off with 11 minutes left, preserved for PSG.