Real Madrid continues to lead the pack in Spain's Primera Liga. The club recovered from its midweek King's Cup quarterfinal exit against Barcelona to host last-place league team Zaragoza.
Real Madrid had a chance to open the scoring when Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded a free kick. But his shot went just wide, only 2 minutes into the match.
|Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (C) celebrates his goal against Real Zaragoza with teammates during their Spanish first division soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid January 28, 2012.
Then, Angel Lafita gave Zaragoza a surprise early lead at the Bernabeu. He scored after a fast free-kick in the 11th minute. Zaragoza hasn't won since mid-October.
And Kaka made it tough for the visitors to win this one. He beat the offside trap and fired-in a low shot to level the score at 1-1 in the 32nd minute.
Real Madrid would then dominate the 2nd half. Mesut Ozil assissted Ronaldo to tap in his 24th league goal of the campaign just four minutes after the restart.
Six minutes later, Ozil scored with a fierce drive and Zaragoza rarely threatened again. 3-1 the final score, Real Madrid wins it.
In the day's another match, Lionel Messi lobbed just wide during a stale first half as Barcelona was forced to a goalless draw by homestanding Villarreal. Espanyol recovered from a shocking King's Cup quarter-final loss to beat 10-man Real Mallorca 1-0 at home, while Spain striker Fernando Llorente scored a hat-trick as Bilbao came from behind to win 3-2 at Rayo Vallecano.
In the standings, Real Madrid is now 7 points clear of the table with 52 points, with Barcelona standing at 45. Espanyol is fifth with 31, and Athletic Bilbao sixth at 29 after both teams won their matches.