Real Madrid maintained the distance behind FC Barcelona to eight points after a comfortable 3-1 home win against Deportivo La Coruna in their final league match before next weekend’s visit to Barca’s Camp Nou stadium.
The pace of Angel de Maria on the Real Madrid left was a key factor in the win as De Maria scored his side’s second goal and had a hand in the other two goals his side scored in the first half.
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho had made changes to his side ahead of their vital Champions League tie away against Borussia Dortmiund. Luka Modric replaced Xabi Alonso in midfield, while Gonzalo Higuain was back in the side for the in-form Karim Benzema.
However, the biggest surprise was the decision to move Sergio Ramos back to right-back to allow Rafael Varene to play in central defence.
At the start Madrid controlled the ball but Deportivo opened the scoring after 15 minutes when Riki side-stepped Varene and slid the ball past Iker Casillas.
The visitors’ lead lasted just seven minutes before Ronaldo equalised from the penalty spot after Manuel Pablo brought down Angel de Maria on the very edge of the Deportivo area.
Ronaldo stepped up and scored the penalty with ease, sending Deportivo keeper, Dani Aranzubia the wrong way.
De Maria then put Madrid ahead outstripping veteran defender Manuel Pablo for pace and beating Aranzubia with a low shot.
Just before half-time the situation was repeated as de Maria again beat the full-back for pace. Although the Deportivo keeper made a good save the ball looped up for Ronaldo to score with a header.
The second-half saw Mourinho make full use of his substitutes bringing on Xabi Alonso and Kaka, who made his league debut this season.
Pepe scored Madrid’s fourth of the night with a header from an Alonso free kick with 25 minutes remaining. But by then Deportivo were well-beaten and Madrid added a fifth from the penalty spot as Ronaldo scored again after a supposed handball in the Deportivo area.