Cristiano Ronaldo scored both Real Madrid’s goals in a 2-0 win over Malaga on Sunday but was later red-carded for deliberately elbowing defender Patrick Jan Mtiliga in the face.
Ronaldo ended a three game scoring drought in the 35th minute when Karim Benzema played the ball to Kaka, who crossed to the Portuguese winger to slot the ball home from close range.
Ronaldo then scored his ninth goal of the season four minutes later, firing the ball into the roof of the net after being put through by Jose Maria “Guti” Gutierrez.
But the Portugal forward’s temper got the better of him 20 minutes from time as he lashed out with his elbow, striking Mtiliga in the face.
Mtiliga was substituted with blood pouring from his nose.
Madrid’s 10th straight home win allows them to stay within five points of Barcelona, who won 3-0 at Valladolid on Saturday.
Ronaldo’s sending off means the world’s most expensive footballer will miss at least one game through suspension just when Madrid’s main rival is in sublime form after finishing the first half of the season unbeaten.
Barcelona has 49 points and Madrid 44, while Valencia is third with 39 points after a 0-0 draw against Tenerife. Mallorca went fourth — tied with Deportivo La Coruna at 34 points — after rallying for a 1-1 draw at Espanyol with a late penalty.