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Quickfire Ronaldo proves Real hero

Ronaldo points Real back to top of Primera Liga
Ronaldo points Real back to top of Primera Liga

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MADRID, Spain -- Brazilian ace Ronaldo struck after 15 seconds on Wednesday as Real Madrid defeated city rivals Atletico 2-0 to go top of Spain's Primera Liga.

Spanish international Raul also scored in a victory which maintained Madrid's perfect record this season at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

But Barcelona crashed to their heaviest league loss for nine seasons when Salva Ballesta hit a hat-trick as Malaga crushed the Catalan giants 5-1.

Ronaldo was in fantastic form as Madrid won the battle for local pride and put themselves in good heart for Saturday's trip to embarrassed Barcelona.

The Brazilian, the league's leading marksman, stunned Atletico when he received a pass from Roberto Carlos and charged through the defense before chipping the ball past Argentine goalkeeper German Burgos for his 11th goal of the season.

Madrid doubled their lead in the 20th when David Beckham sent a flighted pass from halfway to Raul who was lurking unmarked at the edge of the area. The Spanish star had no trouble nodding over Burgos and into the net.

Teenage striker Fernando Torres almost reduced the deficit when he shot narrowly wide in the 33rd minute.

But Real came even closer to scoring in the 50th when Ronaldo burst through to hit Burgos' left post and Raul met the rebound, only to send the ball onto the same post.

Meanwhile, Salva grabbed the limelight as Barcelona suffered a crushing blow to morale ahead of Saturday's big game.

Barcelona, without the flair of injured Brazilian forward Ronaldinho for the third straight league game, fell behind in the ninth minute when the unmarked Salva fired home.

Salva doubled his tally five minutes later with a header from a cross by Portuguese midfielder Sergio "Duda" Barbosa and the former Spanish international chipped over goalkeeper Victor Valdes in the 69th minute to complete his hat-trick.

Barca's misery grew when substitute Diego Alonso, who replaced Salva a minutes earlier, added a fourth with his first kick in the 74th minute.

The deficit was cut through a Fernando Sanz own-goal, although Malaga's four-goal lead was restored by substitute Manolo Canabal eight minutes later.

Deportivo could only muster a draw at Valladolid despite taking the lead thanks to a 50th-minute headed own-goal by defender Jonathan Martin.

The lead lasted 15 minutes until Valladolid leveled through a header by midfielder Oscar Lopez and extended their unbeaten run to seven matches.

Osasuna substitute Pierre Webo netted an 87th-minute goal to earn his side a 1-0 victory over last-place Espanyol.

Osasuna left back Antonio Lopez was sent off in the 45th minute, while Espanyol defender Albert Lopo was also red carded just before time. Lopo's dismissal was Espanyol's 10th of the season.

Celta's league woes continued with a home draw against lowly Albacete while second half goals by Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o and midfielder Alejandro Campano earned Mallorca a 2-0 win over Villarreal.

Real Betis' winless run stretched to six games after a 1-1 home draw with struggling Murcia, both sides ending with 10 men.

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