The Associated Press BARCELONA (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first hat trick of the season four days before Real Madrid meets Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League with its season on the line.
Ronaldo’s treble of goals on Saturday fueled a 5-2 victory at home over a disconcerted Real Sociedad, which barely offered resistance in a first half dominated by Madrid.
Madrid has had a disappointing season and needed a strong performance before PSG visits the Santiago Bernabeu in the last 16.
The convincing win over Sociedad came after Madrid won only two of its previous six league matches and suffered a humbling exit from the Spanish King’s Cup to modest Leganes.
With Spanish leader Barcelona still a massive 16 points ahead, Madrid’s only real chance to end the season with major silverware rests on becoming European champion for a third consecutive year.
“From the first moment, we played with intensity,” Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said. “I would be lying if I said we weren’t thinking about Wednesday’s match in the second half because our season is at stake against PSG. Our goal is to arrive in the best shape possible for Wednesday.”
PSG also won ahead of its visit to the Spanish capital as Neymar scored to help beat Toulouse 1-0 in France.
In other action, Antoine Griezmann’s goal after only 40 seconds was all Atletico Madrid needed to beat Malaga 1-0 and close the gap with Barcelona to six points.
Griezmann scored after he was quickest to the ball after a long strike by Saul Niguez hit a defender and fell loose in the area.
Kane, Spurs edge Gunners
LONDON (AP) — With a north London derby victory, Tottenham emerged from one of its most taxing runs in the English Premier League unbeaten and with its top-four pursuit reinvigorated.
Only a second-half header from Harry Kane separated Tottenham from Arsenal on Saturday. But the 1-0 scoreline did not reflect the chasm in quality on the pitch with Tottenham in complete control at Wembley Stadium in front of a Premier League record crowd of 83,222.
Tottenham has collected seven points from a possible nine, following victory over Manchester United and a draw at Liverpool, to climb into the third Champions League qualification place.
“It was a big stage in our season and we have come out with flying colors,” Kane said after scoring a league-leading 23rd goal. “We have got good momentum.”
Next up is a trip to Juventus on Tuesday in the Champions League last 16.
It’s a competition Arsenal is absent from this season and is struggling to seal a return. Arsene Wenger’s side is stuck in sixth place and six points behind Liverpool in fourth place.
Manchester City is running away with the title, going 16 points in front of Manchester United after Sergio Aguero scored four in a 5-1 victory over Leicester.
United is at Newcastle on Sunday when third-place Liverpool is at Southampton.
In the tussle to stay in the Premier League, Swansea’s revival under Carlos Carvalhal continued with a 1-0 victory over Burnley taking the south Wales club out of the relegation zone.
Stoke remains in drop zone after drawing with Brighton 1-1, while West Ham moved five points clear of danger by beating Watford 2-0.
The clash of former England managers was won by Sam Allardyce as Everton rose to ninth place by beating Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace 3-1.
Napoli storms back to top
MILAN (AP) — Not content with moving back to the top of Serie A, Napoli also boosted its credentials as Italy’s most entertaining team by crushing third-placed Lazio 4-1 on Saturday.
Napoli recovered from an early goal down to level at the end of the first half and then blew Lazio away.
Maurizio Sarri’s team moved back to a point above six-time defending champion Juventus, which won at Fiorentina 2-0 on Friday.
Lazio remained third after its third successive league defeat, seven points behind Napoli, and could be overtaken by Inter Milan and Roma on Sunday.