Ronaldo-less Real join three-way tie at the top

Ronaldo-less Real join three-way tie at the top
Real's reserve player Jesé Rodríguez scored against Getafe on Sunday, making it eight league goals so far this season . Photo: Ander Guillenea/AFP
Real Madrid made light of the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo with a 3-0 win away at Getafe to move level with Barcelona and Atlético Madrid at the top of La Liga.

It took the visitors just five minutes to make the breakthrough as Jesé Rodriguez curled home his fifth goal in six games from Gareth Bale's pass.

Karim Benzema doubled Madrid's advantage as he finished off Angel di Maria's fine cross before the break and Luka Modric rounded off the scoring with an effort from outside the box midway through the second-half.

All three sides at the top are now tied on 60 points with 14 games still to play.

While Barcelona and Atletico return to Champions League action this week, Madrid have the luxury of a week off as they don't travel to Schalke for the first leg of their last 16 tie until February 26th.

Los Blancos are now 24 games unbeaten in all competitions and, after having kept their 11th clean sheet in 13 games in 2014, boss Carlo Ancelotti believes they are in top form at just the right time of the season.

"Our defensive solidity is very important. At the start of the season we had problems, but now we are more solid, playing with more confidence and look more natural in our play," he said.

"I hope this continues because we are in the most important part of the season. The mental and physical condition of the players is very good for the upcoming games."

Ronaldo's three-match suspension after being sent-off against Athletic Bilbao earlier this month has allowed Jesé to get a continued run in the side and the Spaniard continued to make his case for a place in Vicente del Bosque's World Cup squad with a precise finish into the far corner.

Despite being involved in the build-up to the goal, Bale didn't enjoy his best afternoon as he slotted a wonderful chance wide after great work from Benzema and was shown a yellow card in the first-half.

Ancelotti's men were well in control, though, and made the game safe with a flowing counter-attack that ended with Di Maria's cross being swept home by Benzema.

Getafe started the second period the stronger as Madrid constantly gave the ball away cheaply, however the hosts couldn't take advantage of a number of half chances and were punished when Modric added to Real's lead 24 minutes from time.

The Croatian midfielder has been his side's most consistent performer since the start of the year, but hadn't scored in La Liga this season until his low strike from 25 yards sneaked past Miguel Angel Moya.

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