Zaragoza get a Real hiding

MADRID - Gonzalo Higuain and Rafael van der Vaart scored two apiece as Real Madrid tore apart struggling Real Zaragoza to win 6-0 in La Liga on Saturday.

MADRID - Gonzalo Higuain and Rafael van der Vaart scored two apiece as Real Madrid tore apart struggling Real Zaragoza to win 6-0 in La Liga on Saturday.

Manuel Pellegrini's second-placed side climbed to 37 points from 15 games, two short of leaders Barcelona who were in Abu Dhabi winning the Club World Cup.

Sevilla lost ground in third place after a double by Getafe's Roberto Soldado condemned them to a 2-1 home defeat.

Zaragoza arrived at a freezing Bernabeu with caretaker Jose Aurelio Gay standing in after coach Marcelino was sacked last weekend, but the league's leakiest defence put up little resistance as they conceded four goals in the first half.

Argentina striker Higuain burst clear to score after three minutes and Dutchman Van der Vaart, playing in place of the injured Kaka, made it 3-0 with a quick fire double.

In the 34th minute, Higuain also claimed a second goal, turning under pressure to lob a spectacular shot into the top corner for his 10th of the campaign.

Cristiano Ronaldo had tried his luck with a number of free kicks and finally got on the scoresheet in the 50th minute, twisting and turning in the area before slotting in the fifth goal.

Real were utterly dominant and Karim Benzema came off the bench to slot away their sixth goal in the 71st minute. Zaragoza remain in the relegation places with 12 points.

l Earlier, Fernando Llorente powered Athletic Bilbao to a 2-0 home victory over Osasuna, lifting his side to sixth in the standings with 26 points.

l Opportunist goals from Getafe striker Roberto Soldado condemned Sevilla to a 2-1 home defeat on Saturday. Sevilla remain third with 30 points, four behind second-placed Real Madrid.

Soldado finished off a sweeping counter-attack to put Getafe ahead after 12 minutes and netted his 10th of the campaign in the 33rd after a misunderstanding in the home defence. Sevilla turned to substitute Alvaro Negredo, who pulled one back in the 51st minute.

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