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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Ronaldo strikes twice as Real close in on Atletico

Sports Shorts: Ronaldo strikes twice as Real close in on Atletico

April 27, 2014 10:43 IST

Sports Shorts: Ronaldo strikes twice as Real close in on Atletico

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Real Madrid's rampant Cristiano Ronaldo looked to be back at his best as he scored at the start of each half to set up a 4-0 victory over lowly Osasuna and put the pressure back on La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Sergio Ramos and Daniel Carvajal also netted for Real. who are second on 82 points, three behind Atletico before their trip to Valencia on Sunday with both teams having played 34 games.

Barcelona, mourning the death of former coach Tito Vilanova on Friday, are now in third place with 81 points from 34 matches and travel to Villarreal on Sunday.

Real did not risk Gareth Bale or Karim Benzema against Osasuna ahead of their Champions league semi-final second leg at Bayern Munich on Tuesday in which they hold a 1-0 advantage.

But there was no holding Ronaldo, who only returned from injury in Wednesday's first leg against Bayern at the Bernabeu having been out since early April, as he cut in from the left wing and fired into the corner of the net after six minutes.

The prolific Portuguese forward then cracked home a fine long-range drive after 52 minutes before being substituted leaving Ramos and Carvajal to wrap up the win with headers.

Earlier, Adrian Colunga struck for Getafe who beat Malaga 1-0 to boost their survival hopes and condemn Real Betis to relegation. The Andalusian side went on to lose 1-0 at home to Real Sociedad with Carlos Vela scoring the only goal from the penalty spot at the start of the second half.

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Image: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match against Osasuna
Photographs: Angel Martinez/Real Madrid via Getty Images

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Klitschko retains WBO crown with Leapai knock-out

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World heavyweight champion Vladimir Klitschko easily retained his WBO crown when he knocked out Alex Leapai of Australia in the fifth round on Saturday in an overwhelmingly one-sided bout.

The 38-year-old Klitschko, who holds the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO crowns, is now unbeaten for 10 years with his most recent defeat back in April 2004 against Lamon Brewster.

Klitschko, with his brother Vitaly - the former WBC champion and a politician in his home country - in his corner, knocked down his opponent after a few seconds in the first round, a big left-right combination sending the 34-year-old Leapai sprawling.

The Ukrainian, whose record now stands at 62 wins with 52 knock-outs and three defeats, then pummelled the hapless Australian in round five, knocking him down once again before a clean knockout with less than a minute left in the round.

"Alex Leapai, I know it was not easy for you but you were up against the best fighter in the world and it was hard," Klitschko said in a ringside interview.

"Despite my 38 years I felt superb. I was in top form tonight in the ring."

Klitschko also had a special mention for his home nation, saying his preparation for the fight was not easy due to the political crisis back home with neighbouring Russia.

"I trained long and hard but it was not easy. My mind was back in Ukraine and what is happening there. Politicians must find a compromise and it should not come to a war. Ukraine will not be split up and (must) remain united."

Leapai, who got a shot at the world title after his stunning win over Russian Denis Boytsov in November last year, never got much chance to fight, with the 15-centimetre taller Klitschko tormenting him with his jab and longer reach.

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Image: Wladimir Klitschko (right) of Ukraine exchanges punches with Alex Leapai of Australia during their WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO heavy weight title fight
Photographs: Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

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Nishikori to meet Giraldo in Barcelona final

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Fourth seed Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese player to reach the final of the Barcelona Open when he out-hit Latvia's Ernests Gulbis 6-2 6-4 on Saturday.

Nicolas Almagro failed to reproduce the form that helped him end Rafa Nadal's 41-match, 11-year unbeaten run at the tournament as the Spaniard lost his semi-final 7-5 6-3 to unseeded Colombian Santiago Giraldo.

Nishikori will now fancy his chances of landing a first claycourt trophy in Sunday's final with Giraldo who has yet to win a title on the ATP Tour.

"I am very happy with the way I am playing and especially with my service and forehand," said the Japanese who is making his comeback after being sidelined for a month with a groin injury.

"This is a tough tournament with so many top Spanish players involved but now I am in the final and it is in my hands," he told reporters.

Nishikori's consistency from the back of the court was too much for Gulbis to handle.

The 24-year-old was quick around the court as he broke twice to take the first set.

Gulbis offered more resistance in the second set but Nishikori broke to go 5-4 ahead before clinching victory on his own serve. 


Image: Kei Nishikori
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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