Seville, Spain – Cristiano Ronaldo notched a hat trick on 2 win over Sevilla in an eight-goal thriller at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
The Portuguese hitman opened the scoring in the tenth minute, latching onto a through ball from Angel Di Maria and slipping a shot into the back of the net.
Ronaldo fired Real to a further lead in the 41st minute, lashing a rocket from distance into the upper corner.
He completed the three-goal performance late on, stuffing home a penalty kick in the 86th minute to lift Real Madrid into first place and launch himself above Lionel Messi for the La Liga scoring lead with 20 goals thus far.
Di Maria, Jose Callejon, and Hamit Altintop also popped up with goals for the visitors, while Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo provided the goals for Sevilla.
It was a resounding effort from Los Blancos, who had their title credentials called into question after their defeat at the hands of Barcelona in their last league outing.
But Real Madrid, and Ronaldo in particular, responded in title-worthy fashion, as the six-goal performance sees Jose Mourinho's men climb back into the top spot with 40 points, three points ahead of the Catalans.
Sevilla remains fifth with 24 points on the year, but could drop to seventh if Malaga and Osasuna pick up wins in Sunday's La Liga action.
Athletic Bilbao 2, Real Zaragoza 1
Bilbao, Spain - Athletic Bilbao and Real Zaragoza both had a man sent off in their La Liga clash at the San Mames on Saturday, but it was the home side that was able to make the neceassary adjustments, as Gaizka Toquero scored in the 87th minute to help Bilbao to a 2-1 win.
Markel Susaeta Laskurain gave Bilbao the lead after six minutes, but the home side was dealt a blow in the 22nd minute when Javi Martinez was shown a red card for a foul in the box. Leonardo Ponzio converted the ensuing penalty kick to draw Zaragoza level.
Real Zaragoza was also reduced to ten men, as Maurizio Lanzaro was given his marching orders in the 70th minute. Bilbao captialized late, as Toquero provided the game-winner three minutes from full time.
Bilbao moves to within a point of seventh-place Espanyol, which defeated Sporting Gijon on Saturday. Zaragoza has lost eight straight in the league and remains bottom with just ten points.
Espanyol 2, Sporting Gijon 1
Gijon, Spain - Sergio Garcia tallied a game-winning goal six minutes from time to see Espanyol take three points with a 2-1 win over Sporting Gijon at El Molinon on Saturday.
Thievy Bifouma got Espanyol off to a dream start with a goal two minutes into the match, but it was canceled out by David Barral in the 60th minute. Garcia then provided the telling goal in the 84th minute to lift the visitors to a dramatic win.
Espanyol has won two straight to improve to 23 points on the year, while Sporting Gijon remains in the relegation zone with just 15 points.
Getafe 2, Mallorca 1
Mallorca, Spain - Abdelaziz Barrada scored twice at the Estadio Son Moix to help Getafe claim a 2-1 road win over Mallorca in La Liga action on Saturday.
Ivan Ramis had handed Mallorca the lead after only 10 minutes but Getafe overturned the deficit through Barrada, as the Moroccan midfielder struck in the 28th and 44th minutes to see the visitors win their second league contest on the bounce.
Getafe improves to 19 points on the year to jump ahead of Mallorca which sits 12th in the league with 18 points.