Real Madrid Vs. Levante, 2012 La Liga: Cristiano Ronaldo Brilliance Wins Out In Top Four Battle

It was a ugly and then uglier start for Real Madrid. They were hosting Levante in a top four battle at the Bernabeu, but fell behind early and then should have been a man down. Luckily and unfairly, they stayed at full strength, then Levante went down a man and the host poured it on with some brilliant play. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick with some wonderful play and when the final whistle blew, Madrid were 4-2 winners.

Gustavo Cabral scored the opener for Levante just five minutes into the match to stun the home crowd. Sergio Ramos was at fault on the goal and he was really at fault a little later when he took a disgusting kick at the back of Asier del Horno's legs. Somehow he was allowed to stay on the pitch, which wouldn't prove be too bad because he would later be at fault for Levante's second goal too, but you would have to think a suspension is coming.

Just before halftime, Real Madrid did get level, but not without some controversy. Ronaldo was the one who leveled for the hosts when he blasted home a penalty, but that penalty came on a red card Vicente Iborra that was very harsh. The Levante player was certainly guilty of handling the ball in the box so the penalty was fair, but the referee also showed a yellow card for an intentional handball that in no way looked intentional and Iborra was off with his second yellow.

Back level and now a man up, Madrid turned it on. Gonzalo Higuain's gorgeous turn on the right gave him just enough room to cross and he put it right on Ronaldo's head for a 2-1 Madrid lead. Then, Ronaldo hit an absolutely incredible shot from 25 yards that shot over Gustavo Munua with incredible pace before dropping like a brick and under the bar. A great turn and shot into the side netting by Karim Benzema was all Madrid needed to finishing out Levante as they cruised to victory despite and Arouna Kone tally in the second half.

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