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Cristiano Ronaldo fires Real Madrid to La Liga summit

updated 8:31 AM EDT, Mon March 10, 2014
Cristiano Ronaldo raises his arms in triumph after scoring the opener for Real Madrid against Levante.
Cristiano Ronaldo raises his arms in triumph after scoring the opener for Real Madrid against Levante.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Real Madrid beat Levante 3-0 in La Liga
  • Los Blancos three points clear at the top
  • Cristiano Ronaldo scored the opener in Bernabeu
  • Juventus maintain big lead in Serie A

(CNN) -- Real Madrid duly took advantage of Barcelona's latest slip-up to return to the top of La Liga after a routine 3-0 win over Levante in the Bernabeu Sunday.

The mid-table visitors ended the match with 10 men after David Navarro was sent off in the second half for a foul on Cristiano Ronaldo, but they were well beaten even before he saw red.

Ronaldo had put Real ahead after 11 minutes before defender Marcelo put the home side two up just after halftime.

An own goal from Nikos Karabelas completed Levante's miserable evening.

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The victory put Carlo Ancelotti's men three points clear of city rivals Atletico.

Defending champions Barca lost 1-0 to struggling Valladolid Saturday and trail by four in third place, making this month's El Clasico clash with Real all the more important.

Real have not lost since a 2-1 league reverse to Barcelona in October as their goalscoring trio of Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have found the net on a regular basis.

Ronaldo showed his heading qualities by rising to meet Angel di Maria's corner to put Real ahead before Benzema hit the post.

Read: Real face Barca in Copa del Rey final

Marcelo's superlative curling effort on 49 minutes all but settled the affair before Navarro, who was once banned for seven months after a notorious Champions League brawl when playing for Valencia, got his marching orders for the seventh time in his career.

Marcelo also had a hand in the final goal as Karabelas turned the defender's cross into his own goal and there was just time for Ronaldo to thump the woodwork as he sought a second.

Read: Record Champions League win for Real

Ancelotti was delighted as his team continued to mount a strong challenge on all fronts. "We had the same intensity and concentration in the last few games," he told Real's official website.

"We played well from the first minute til the last; very efficient and with security at the back. The match was very good," he added.

In Italy, Juventus have one hand on the Serie A title again after a 1-0 win over Fiorentina -- their 14th straight home league win.

Ghana's Kwadwo Asamoah struck a stunning winner just before the break, finding space before sending a rocket shot into the top corner.

Read: Juve end Roma's winning run

It was reward for Juve's dominance against opponents they will meet again in the Europa League last 16.

Fiorentina might have leveled after the interval as substitute Ryder Matos headed against the crossbar from close range, but Juventus were deserved winners.

It left them 14 points clear of Roma, who lost 1-0 to third-placed Napoli in the late kickoff, with former Real Madrid forward Jose Callejon heading in a late winner.

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