Cristiano Ronaldo rescues Madrid, Barca cruise to victory
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Goalkeeper Iker Casillas came off the bench for 10-man Real Madrid who needed a second half double from Cristiano Ronaldo to beat Real Sociedad 4-3 while leaders Barcelona cruised to a 4-0 win over Espanyol.
Barcelona, whose goals yesterday came in the first-half against their city neighbours, remain 16 points clear of their bitter rivals and 12 ahead of second-place Atletico Madrid.
Madrid captain Casillas was left out for the second consecutive game but was called upon after just five minutes following a penalty conceded by his replacement Adan Garrido who was red carded.
Xabi Prieto, who was to grab a hat-trick, scored from the spot-kick to equalise after Karim Benzema had put Madrid ahead in the second minute with Sami Khedira then restoring the lead for Jose Mourinho's side after 35 minutes.
Prieto struck again before half-time before Ronaldo came to the rescue with a brace after the restart.
Prieto hit his third with 14 minutes to go but Sociedad also finished with 10 men as Daniel Estrada was given a second yellow card.
After the game Mourinho said he was unconcerned about receiving abuse from the crowd.
"Perfect. Let them whistle me before the match and then support the team as they are doing. I think the whistles are for leaving Casillas out and also because we are not achieving our aims in the championship," he said.
"There are others who didn't applaud and are not happy with his (Casillas') performances. If I am not doing well it is normal that they whistle and it is something you have to live with. I don't want to be a hero independently of my performances."
Madrid faced an injury crisis at the back with Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, Marcelo and Raul Albiol all injured and Sergio Ramos suspended. They got the perfect start with Khedira finding Benzema in space in the centre of the penalty area and he found the corner with a clinical finish.