Madrid, Spain – Real Madrid is doing everything it can to end the La Liga title race as soon as possible.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his La Liga-leading 30th goal, Gonzalo Higuain bagged a brace and Real Madrid cruised to its 10th straight win, and 20th in its last 21 league games, 5-0 over Espanyol on Sunday at the Bernabeu.
Real's only loss in its last 21 La Liga games was to Barcelona on Dec. 10, but the club restored a 10-point cushion over the defending champions. Barca moved within seven points Saturday with a 3-1 win over Sporting Gijon.
Espanyol lost for the third time during a five-game winless skid and sits 11th and an astonishing 34 points off the pace of Real. Espanyol is nine points off the relegation zone.
Real Zaragoza 2, Villarreal 1
Aragon, Spain - Abraham Minero scored 4 minutes into stoppage time Sunday as Real Zaragoza took a step toward survival and left Villarreal clinging to its La Liga life with a 2-1 win at the Estadio La Romareda.
Alejandro Martinuccio scored in the 16th minute for Villarreal, but two goals in the closing stages lifted last-place Zaragoza to the needed victory.
Luis Garcia tied the match in the 85th and Minero scored in the final seconds to give Zaragoza its second win in its last four matches.
Zaragoza remained at the bottom of the table, but its fourth win this season moved it to within nine points of safety with 13 matches left in the season.
Villarreal lost for the second time in its last three and for the 10th time this season, as it stayed three points above the drop in 17th but remained in danger of relegation this season.
Athletic Bilbao 2, Real Sociedad 0
Bilbao, Spain - Markel Susaeta scored twice and Athletic Bilbao defeated Real Sociedad, 2-0, on Sunday at San Mames to climb into fourth place in La Liga.
Susaeta scored on each side of halftime, notching his first goal in the 24th minute and his second in the 80th.
Bilbao is level on points with Malaga, but sits in fourth and holds the final Champions League spot.
Sociedad lost for the third time in its last five, and is six points clear of the relegation zone.
Valencia 1, Granada 0
Granada, Spain - Sofiane Feghouli scored in the 33rd minute as Valencia downed Granada, 1-0, on Sunday at the Los Carmenes to snap a two-match La Liga losing streak.
Valencia lost its last two games to Barcelona and Sevilla to watch its grip on third place and an automatic Champions League place dwindle, but the win gives the club a six-point cushion over Athletic Bilbao and Malaga, who are level on 37 points.
Granada lost for the third time in its last four and sits just four points off the drop zone in 16th.