Real Madrid duly took advantage of Barcelona‘s latest slip up to return to the top of La Liga after a routine 3-0 win over Levante in the Bernabeu Sunday.
The mid table visitors ended the match with 10 men after David Navarro was sent off in the second half for a foul on Cristiano Ronaldo, but they were well beaten even before he saw red.
Ronaldo had put Real ahead after 11 minutes before defender Marcelo put them two up just after halftime.
An own goal from Nikos Karabelas completed Levante‘s miserable evening.
The victory sees Carlo Ancelotti‘s men head the standings by three points from city rivals Atletico.
Defending champions Barca lost 1-0 to struggling Valladolid Saturday and trail by four in third place, making their El Clasico match-up with Real later this month all the more important.
Real have not lost since a 2-1 league reverse to Barcelona in October as their goal scoring trio of Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have found the net on a regular basis.
Ronaldo showed his heading qualities by rising to meet Angel di Maria‘s corner to put Real ahead before Benzema hit the post.
Marcelo’s superlative curling effort on 49 minutes all but settled the affair before Navarro, who was once banned for seven months after a notorious Champions League brawl when playing for Valencia, got his marching orders for the seventh time in his career.
Marcelo also had a hand in the final goal as Karabelas turned the defender’s cross into his own goal and there was just time for Ronaldo to thump the woodwork as he sought a second.
Ancelotti was delighted as his team continued to mount a strong challenge on all fronts. “We had the same intensity and concentration in the last few games,” he told Real’s official website.
“We played well from the first minute til the last; very efficient and with security at the back. The match was very good,” he added.
Here are the Match Pictures: