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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ronaldo Cruises to Stylish Hat-trick

MADRID -- Barcelona stretched their lead at the top of the Spanish first division to four points thanks to an extraordinary hat-trick from Brazilian striker Ronaldo in the 3-2 victory over Valencia.


Ronaldo's first came on the quarter-hour after he picked up the ball just outside the area, burst through a gap and kept his balance before beating keeper Zubizarreta with ease.


Portuguese winger Luis Figo set up the second 20 minutes later when he caught Valencia square at the back to set up Ronaldo, who ran 30 meters with the ball to make it 2-0.


Valencia came out strongly after the break and drew level with goals from Francisco Ferreira and Russian Valery Karpin.


Sixteen minutes from time Ronaldo ensured victory with his best goal of the evening. Picking up the ball in the center circle, he brushed aside one challenge, stayed on his feet between two defenders and once again beat Zubizarreta.


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A hat-trick by Fredi Bobic kept Stuttgart's surprising lead in the Bundesliga intact as they thrashed Borussia Moenchengladbach 5-0.


Stuttgart leads Bayern Munich, which beat Fortuna Dusseldorf 2-0 away, on goal difference, while champions Borussia Dortmund, in fourth, also got in on the scoring craze by beating Arminia Bielefeld 5-0.


Stuttgart were in irresistible form as Borussia, deprived of injured playmaker Stefan Effenberg, were swept aside.


Bulgarian midfielder Krasimir Balakov scored from the penalty spot and Brazilian striker Elber headed home to seal the rout. German international midfielder Mehmet Scholl scored in the 83rd minute against Fortuna Dusseldorf to ensure that Bayern Munich, missing several internationals through injuries, stayed in touch with Stuttgart.


(AFP, Reuters)


(For other results, see Scorecard.)





Scholl's fellow midfielder Dietmar Hamann had opened the scoring in the 38th minute.