A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick maintained Real Madrid’s La Liga title aspirations as they ended Sevilla’s 34-game unbeaten run at home with a 3-2 win.
Victory kept the European champions just two points behind Barcelona with three games to play after Luis Suarez scored his first hat-trick for the Catalans in a 8-0 humiliation of relegated Cordoba.
Sevilla ‘keeper Sergio Rico made an incredible save from point-blank range to prevent Ronaldo opening the scoring early on from Marcelo’s fine cross.
Iker Casillas then had to be quick off his line at the other end to prevent Aleix Vidal putting Sevilla in front.
However, the game swung massively in Madrid’s favour in the space of two minutes whilst Sevilla were down to 10 men as Grzegorz Krychowiak was off the field receiving treatment for a facial injury.
The World Player of the Year headed home expertly from Isco’s cross and then prodded in from Javier Hernandez’s flick-on moments later.
Sevilla were handed a route back into the game when Sergio Ramos upended Vidal inside the area in first-half stoppage time and Carlos Bacca converted from the penalty spot.
Ronaldo looked to have sealed the three points with a stunning header from Gareth Bale’s cross midway through the second-half.
However, Vicente Iborra reduced the deficit once more from as he swept home Vidal’s cross to set up a grandstand finish.
And Madrid’s hearts were in their mouths five minutes from time when Barcelona loanee Denis Suarez’s trickled an attempt inches past the post.
Ronaldo’s 29th Madrid hat-trick took him onto 42 La Liga goals for the campaign, two ahead of Lionel Messi who netted twice as Barca condemned Cordoba to relegation in embarrassing fashion.
Cordoba, who haven’t won since January, held out for 42 minutes, but a four-goal blitz in 11 minutes either side of half-time ended their return to the top flight after just one season.