Real Madrid beats Las Palmas 3-1, stays top in Spain

MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 13th goal of the season as Real Madrid defeated Las Palmas 3-1 Saturday to remain top of the Spanish league.

Francisco "Isco" Alarcon put the hosts ahead just four minutes into the match after a perfect through ball by Casemiro, and Ronaldo added to the lead 10 minutes later with a diving header from a cross by Marcelo. Jese Rodriguez closed the scoring before halftime with a well-struck right-footed shot from inside the area in the 43rd.

Recently promoted Las Palmas scored with Hernan Santana's header off a 38th-minute corner.

The win at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium keeps Madrid in the lead with 24 points from 10 rounds. Barcelona can reach the same amount of points when it plays at Getafe later Sunday, but the Catalan club trails on goal difference.

Third-place Atletico Madrid dropped four points behind Madrid after being held to a 1-1 home draw by Deportivo La Coruna at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on Friday.

It was the third consecutive victory for Real Madrid, which remained without some of its top players because of injuries. Among the players sidelined were goalkeeper Keylor Navas, defender Sergio Ramos, playmaker James Rodriguez and forwards Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

Rafa Benitez's team got off to a quick start on Saturday, though, with Isco firing a shot into the far corner after a well-timed pass by Brazilian defensive midfielder Casemiro. Captain Marcelo set up Ronaldo's firm header from near the penalty spot, and Rodriguez cleared a defender inside the area before striking a low shot into the back of the net.

It was Ronaldo's eighth league goal, tying him with Barcelona's Neymar as the competition's leading scorers. The Portuguese striker has scored 13 times in as many matches this season.

He had a great chance to add another goal on Saturday in second-half injury time, but his shot from just in front of the goal was blocked by Las Palmas goalkeeper Javi Varas.

Las Palmas remains with only one victory this season and has lost four of its last five games.

It was the first time Madrid faced the Canary Islands team since striker Fernando Morientes scored five goals in a 7-0 win at the Bernabeu in 2002. Madrid had outscored Las Palmas 17-1 in the last three games entering Saturday's matchup. Real Madrid has never lost to Las Palmas at the Bernabeu, having won 28 times and drawn four.

The Spanish powerhouse now turns its focus to the Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday in Madrid. The teams lead Group A in the European competition.