MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain each scored twice as Real Madrid defeated Getafe 4-2 to return to the top of the Spanish La Liga football on Thursday. With Barcelona on 71 points after its 2-0 win over Osasuna on Wednesday, Real needed a win to go to the top on goal difference and it delivered a stunning first-half performance.

Ronaldo put Real ahead by curling a free-kick into the top right-hand corner in the 13th minute from the edge of the area. In the 20th, Higuain ran on to Rafael van der Vaart's pass and fired a low shot past Ustari. Three minutes later, the Argentina striker received Fernando Gago's long through pass and rounded Ustari for his 22nd league goal of the season.

Ronaldo scored the goal of the game and his 17th of the season in the 37th, dribbling down the right and blasting the ball into the far corner from a tight angle. Getafe's Daniel Parejo responded a minute later by sweeping the ball in after goalkeeper Iker Casillas had run out of the area to clear.

An enraged Casillas claimed he was injured by a Getafe player just before the goal, although he remained on the field for the full 90 minutes. Pedro Leon cut the deficit further in the 79th when the ball rebounded off a defender to his feet and he tapped home.

Elesewhere, Atletico Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 to climb to eighth on 37 points and Bilbao is sixth on 42 points.

Putting pressure

Real Madrid pressured from the start in wet conditions and looked determined to improve on its record of one win in five visits to Getafe's Alfonso Perez Stadium. Xabi Alonso was particularly effective in midfield and Ustari only just managed to stop his low shot in the seventh.

Ronaldo nearly scored when he cut in from the left and fired a right-footed shot that Ustari pushed over the bar. The Getafe goalkeeper was tested again when Sergio Ramos charged in to meet a cross with his head.

Getafe coach Jose Miguel “Michel” Gonzalez, a member of the great Real Madrid team of the 1980s, replaced Parejo and Jaime Gavilan with Fabio Celestini and Manuel del Moral at half-time. Higuain nearly scored his hat-trick shortly after the break when he chipped past a defender and just failed to beat Ustari to the ball.

However, with Madrid pressuring less in the second half, Getafe started to create chances. Nicolas “Miku” Ladislao fired over in the 59th and Leon shot wide a minute later, before drawing a save from Casillas with a long-range effort.

Raul Gonzalez came on for van der Vaart in the 67th and Jose Maria “Guti” Gutierrez replaced Higuain 10 minutes from the end. Coach Michel's frustration showed when he was sent off from the dugout in injury time for dissent.

Juventus loses

Meanwhile in the Italian Serie ‘A,' Napoli bounced back from conceding an early goal and missing a penalty to beat Juventus 3-1 on Thursday.

Thursday's results:

La Liga: Getafe 2 (Parejo 38, Leon 80) lost to Real Madrid 4 (Ronaldo 13, 37, Higuain 20, 23); Atletico Madrid 2 (Forlan 54, Aguero 86) bt Athletic Bilbao 0.

Serie'A': Napoli 3 (Hamsik 51, Quagliarella 72, Lavezzi 88) bt Juventus 1 (Chiellini 7) . — Agencies

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