MADRID: Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals apiece as Real Madrid set aside their recent dip in form to thrash Real Sociedad in the Estadio Bernabeu in the Spanish league.

France striker Benzema also laid on the opening goal for Gonzalo Higuain in the sixth minute as Jose Mourinho’s cast away the controversy over their midweek draw when both Pepe and Sergio Ramos were sent off.  Ronaldo scored after 32 and 56 minutes with Benzema contributing in the 40th and 49th.

Madrid thus continue to hold a six-point lead over Barcelona who won 2-0 away to Malaga earlier in the evening.

Chilean Alexis Sanchez claimed last touch to an inswinging Lionel Messi free-kick for the first goal although there was still debate at the final whistle as to whether it should actually go down as the Argentinian’s 55th of the season instead. Defender Gerard Pique settled it by firing into an open goal after a Messi shot rebounded off the post.

Barcelona played the last 33 minutes with 10 men after Thiago Alcantara was shown two yellow cards in a game which brought Mallorca’s first defeat in five games.

In Germany Bayern Munich claimed a 2-1 win over Hannover to apply more pressure on leaders Borussia Dortmund. Toni Kroos opened the scoring for Bayern in the 36th minute and substitute Mario Gomez made it 2-0 after 68 minutes. Didier Ya Konan hit Hannover’s reply in the 74th minute.

Two goals from Klaas Jan Huntelaar condemned Bayer Leverkusen to their fourth straight defeat and took Schalke up to third  with a 2-0 win. The Dutchman kept up the pressure on Bayern Munich’s Mario Gomez at the top of the Bundesliga goalscoring charts with his 21st and 22nd goals of the season, one in each half at the Arena AufSchalke. Huntelaar, labelled the “best striker in the world inside the penalty area” by his coach Huub Stevens, has  scored 40 goals in all competitions this season.