MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi continued their hand to hand goalscoring duel as Real Madrid and Barcelona claimed easy La Liga wins in warming up for next weekend’s clasico.
Ronaldo’s two goals, including a 13th-minute penalty, in Madrid’s 5-0 win over Levante means he has 15 netted times in the first eight league games for Madrid who thus moved up to second in the table, a point behind leaders Barcelona.
Javier Hernandez, James Rodriguez and Isco completed the scoring.
Messi, who celebrated 10 years since his Barcelona debut this week, scored his 250th La Liga goal to move one off the all-time league scoring record held by old Bilbao hero Telmo Zarra as leaders Barcelona won 3-0 against Eibar.
Xavi and Neymar scored the other two goals.
In France Monaco maintained their slim hopes of a title challenge after midfielder Joao Moutinho’s early goal inspired them to a 2-0 home win against Evian. However last season’s runners-up remain 11th place with 14 points, eight adrift of leaders Marseille.
In Germany champions Bayern Munich crushed Werder Bremen 6-0 to protect their four-point lead at the top as last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund continued their poor run with a 2-1 loss at Koln. With Franck Ribery making his comeback as a substitute on the hour, Bayern owed victory to goals from Philipp Lahm (two), Xabi Alonso, Thomas Muller (penalty) and Mario Gotze.
This was the first time Lahm had scored twice in 321 league games against a Bremen side who became the first Bundesliga team not to have a single shot on target over 90 minutes since game data started being collected in 1993-94
In Holland Adam Maher’s double helped PSV Eindhoven beat AZ Alkmaar 3-0 and take a four-point lead as second-placed champions Ajax Amsterdam drew 1-1 at Twente Enschede.
In Serbia Partizan beat Red Star 1-0 in a tense Belgrade derby four days after a Euro 2016 qualifier was abandoned at the same venue. Play was twice held up for billowing smoke to clear at Partizan’s end after their fans set off the pyrotechnics in response to identical action by Red Star supporters shortly before kickoff.
A free kick by midfielder Nikola Drincic gave Partizan a 1-0 win to keep them in pole position on a maximum 24 points from eight games, four ahead of champions Red Star who have played a game more.