MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo netted his first hat-trick for Real Madrid to move onto 25 goals of the season as his side came from behind to win 4-1 at Real Mallorca on Wednesday to move a point behind Barcelona and ensure the title race goes down to the wire.
Aritz Aduriz had put Champions League hopefuls Mallorca into a 16th-minute lead but Ronaldo took advantage of a defensive mix-up to equalise ten minutes later and struck again on 57 minutes, followed by his final strike on 72 minutes with Gonzalo Higuain chipping in the last one on 81 minutes. With two games left, champions Barcelona, 4-1 winners over Tenerife at Camp Nou on Tuesday, hold a slender onepoint lead over Real and have a tough trip to Sevilla on Saturday while Madrid are at home to Athletic Bilbao.
Spurs rides into Europe Tottenham Hotspur have long maintained they belong in the European soccer elite and after their tension-filled 1-0 victory over Manchester City on Wednesday, they finally have the chance to prove it. Peter Crouch’s late header at Eastlands in what was effectively the winner-takeall match for fourth place in the Premier League, saw Spurs book their place in the Champions League qualifiers for the first time in their history.
The last time Spurs played in Europe’s top competition was when they reached the semifinals of the 1961-62 European Cup and after years of false dawns, near misses and midtable anonymity, they are now close to a return.