MADRID (dpa) – Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick Saturday as Real Madrid claimed their biggest away win ever in the Spanish league with an 8-2 demolition of Deportivo La Coruna.
Later, Atletico Madrid missed the chance to go top by being held 2-2 at home by defiant Celta Vigo.
Atletico are level in second place with surprise package Granada, who won 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao.
Atletico and Granada are one point behind leaders Barcelona, who visit bottom team Levante on Sunday.
In La Coruna, Gareth Bale and Javier Hernandez each bagged a brace for rampant Real, and James Rodriguez put away the other goal for Los Blancos.
These were the first goals in La Liga for newcomers Hernandez and Rodriguez.
“This is a great start for me. Now I hope to have a bit more playing time,” Hernandez said. “This is a very humble group of players. They do not think they are the best when they win, nor the worst when they lose.”
Haris Medujanin and Toche scored for the hapless hosts in the second half, as Real started to relax.
Real had never before scored eight on the road, and victory was sweet after painful losses to neighbours Atletico and Real Sociedad.
Los Blancos are now fifth in La Liga, three points behind leaders Barcelona, who visit Levante on Sunday.
“We have scored 13 goals in two games (with Tuesday’s 5-1 trouncing of Basel) – this shows that we have come back strongly,” Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
“The match was quite even until the first goal. Ronaldo’s opening goal opened up spaces for us, and we have forwards who are very difficult to control.”
The Italian coach said he was not concerned with Barca’s lead: “We are thinking about how to improve, not about how many points they have. The season is very long.”
Real defender Sergio Ramos said: “We have been through a difficult run of results, and many things have been said about us. But now we have won two matches, and this is going to increase our confidence.
Today we played with intensity from start to finish. … Now we have to continue improving and eliminating mistakes.”
Deportivo coach Victor Fernandez called the drubbing “an embarrassing result for us.”
“It is true that we made a lot of mistakes in defence, but sometimes you just have to applaud when you see a team attack so well,” he said.
The defeat left Deportivo in 13th place with four points.