Cristiano Ronaldo set a new Pichichi landmark after netting his 41st league goal in a single season, while Real Madrid equalled their club record of 107 goals in one campaign as Los Blancos came from a goal down to defeat Sporting Gijon 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday evening.
Jose Mourinho's men found themselves behind when Sergio Ramos handled in the penalty area allowing Miguel de las Cuevas to fire the visitors ahead from the resulting spot-kick.
Madrid responded seven minutes later when Ramos, making amends for his earlier error, found Gonzalo Higuain with a superb cross to nod home. Ronaldo completed the turnaround in the 73rd minute before Karim Benzema scored the third late on.
In a tiresome opening that was broken up by constant stoppages, the capital giants were unable to find their usual rhythm as Sporting remained defensively sound continuously frustrating the home side.
Despite Real’s dominance in the early stages the best chance fell to Trejo after the visitors launched a quick breakaway. Alvaro Arbeloa was pressurised into a mistake by the midfielder allowing the Sporting man a sight of goal but could only muster a tame effort that Iker Casillas comfortable saved.
The fabric of the tie continued with Madrid dominating, as both Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo tried their luck with long range efforts but neither truly tested Juan Pablo. The Asturians offering little as an attacking force suddenly sensed an opportunity when Trejo burst through forcing the Madrid defence to retreat. The Argentinean looked to cut inside to fashion himself a shooting opportunity only to be denied by Sergio Ramos’ arm resulting in the visitors being awarded a spot kick.
De las Cuevas, the sole goal scorer in this fixture last season, stepped up to emphatically fire Sporting ahead stunning the Bernabeu faithful.
Jose Mourinho’s side continued to be frustrated by Los Rojiblancos’ diligent defending but were finally rewarded seven minutes after falling behind. Ramos delivered a superb cross toward the far post where Higuain had managed to steal a yard giving him the room to divert the ball home with a glancing header.
Los Blancos came close to going ahead prior to the break but Nuri Sahin’s wonderful free kick clipped the top of the crossbar as the sides went into the interval level.
The significance of the match was realised on the Real Madrid bench at the break as Mourinho opted to introduced Benzema and Angel Di Maria in the hope of finding a second goal.
Similarly to the first half Madrid controlled the early exchanges as they looked to force an opening but the northerner’s defence remained resolute as the home side’s best chances came from set pieces but Ronaldo failed to convert any of them despite his recent heroics.
As the match entered into the final furlong Sporting began to slow the tempo in the hope of frustrating the Madridistas, but it was in vain as the home side’s pressure told 17 minutes from time. Di Maria worked space allowing him to swing in a cross that found Ronaldo unmarked and the Portugal international beautifully directed his header into the back of the net via the base of the far post.
Sporting Gijon’s resilience was finally undone in the 81st minute when Mesut Ozil slipped a gorgeous ball through to Benzema. The Frenchman, from an acute angle, thrashed his finish past Juan Pablo into the opposite corner as Mourinho’s side notched their 107th goal of the campaign equalling the record held by John Toshack’s 1989-90 team.
Marcelo and Benzema both wasted late opportunities to find the 108th goal but Madrid will know that heading into next week's El Clasico that they will be a minimum of four points clear of their rivals, whilst Sporting continue to look destined for the drop.
KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — The police today released three men who were detained for a probe under the Sedition Act 1948 and the Penal Code after a magistrate rejected requests for further remand.