Real Madrid three points clear of Barcelona going into Spain's winter break
Cristiano Ronaldo scores his fifth hat-trick this season in 6-2 victory at Sevilla
It takes him to 20 league goals this season, three more than Barca's Lionel Messi
Espanyol move up to seventh with a 2-1 win at third-bottom Sporting Gijon
Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real Madrid move three points clear in Spain ahead of the winter break with his fifth hat-trick this season in Saturday’s 6-2 win at Sevilla, as both teams had a player sent off.
The Portugal forward claimed outright top spot in the La Liga scoring charts as he moved clear of Lionel Messi, who is in Japan with Barcelona for Sunday’s FIFA Club World Cup final against Brazilian side Santos.
Real, smarting from last weekend’s 3-1 home defeat by the Spanish and European champions, made the perfect start when Ronaldo ran onto Angel Di Maria’s threaded pass to net in the 10th minute.
Goalkeeper Iker Casillas did well to stop Sevilla making an immediate reply, with the Spain captain pushing Manu’s shot onto the post.
Sevilla thought they had equalized in the 35th minute but Emir Spahic’s effort was ruled out for a marginal offside following Ivan Rakitic’s free-kick out wide, and Real doubled the home team’s anguish by immediately doubling the lead.
Jose Callejon, who like Ronaldo scored in the midweek Copa del Rey first-leg win over third division Ponferradina, was credited with another goal after making enough contact with Di Maria’s chip into the box to distract keeper Javi Varas.
Ronaldo made it 3-0 in the 41st minute with his 19th league goal this season after being given too much space to shoot from outside the box.
However, Real went to the interval reduced to 10 men after defender Pepe was sent off for striking the face of former Madrid striker Alvaro Negredo.
Sevilla could not capitalize on that advantage, and Di Maria was finally rewarded in the 66th minute when he ran onto Karim Benzema’s first-time pass and coolly slotted low past Varas.
Jesus Navas reduced the deficit when he fired through the legs of defender Sergio Ramos in the 69th minute, but Manu was red-carded for a rash tackle from behind on Madrid fullback Alvaro Arbeloa.
Ronaldo netted from the penalty spot with five minutes left – sealing his 13th treble for Real –after Benzema was fouled by Federico Fazio in a challenge that saw the France forward carried off.
His replacement Hamit Altintop then scored his first league goal for Real, with the Turkey midfielder netting from Xabi Alonso’s low cross.
Negredo hit back in the second minute of time added on for his fifth in La Liga to ensure a repeat scoreline from last season’s fixture.
The defeat left Sevilla 16 points behind Real after 16 games, and facing the prospect of losing fifth place to Malaga – who visit third-placed Valencia on Sunday.
Espanyol moved up to seventh with a 2-1 win at Sporting Gijon that left the Barcelona-based club a point behind Sevilla and Malaga.
Sergio Garcia netted the winner with six minutes left, after captain David Barral equalized for third-bottom Gijon with his seventh goal this season in the 61st minute.
French teenager Thievy Bifouma put Espanyol ahead after only two minutes as the 19-year-old fired home from outside the box.
Athletic Bilbao beat bottom club Real Zaragoza 2-1 to move up to eighth, despite having Spain midfielder Javi Martinez sent off midway through the first half.
Leonardo Ponzio put the visitors level from the resulting penalty, but his teammate Maurizio Lanzaro was dismissed for a second booking on 69 and Gaizka Toquero netted the Basque side’s winner with three minutes to play.
Getafe joined 10th-placed Atletico Madrid on 19 points with a 2-1 win at Real Mallorca as Abdel Barrada netted both goals.
Defender Ivan Ramis headed Mallorca into a 10th-minute lead, but Pedro Rios helped 22-year-old French midfielder Barrada score on 28 and 44.