Real Madrid outclass Vallecano
Real Madrid were given a real scare by Rayo Vallecano before running out 6-2 winners in the Liga clash at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Ronaldo struck again from the penalty spot soon after the break, only for Michu to score a brace of his own when adding a second goal from close range on 55 minutes.
The visitors' hopes of achieving a famous result increased when Angel Di Maria was sent off soon after Michu's second goal, but defender Raphael Varane and substitute Karim Benzema both netted to secure the points on a nervy night for the home side, before Ronaldo completed his hat-trick with another spot-kick.
The win sends Real up to fourth place, one point behind Barcelona and two behind leaders Real Betis.
Real manager Jose Mourinho is under the most pressure he has felt since joining the club last year. The Spanish giants have endured their worst start to a league campaign in six years.
Things got worse for him when Michu scored for the newly-promoted visitors inside 20 seconds.
For the first half an hour Real's Madrid neighbours were the better side, with 19-year-old forward Alhassane Bangoura running Los Merengues ragged.
Bangoura's nickname is 'Lass', the same as Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra, and it was the Frenchman who made way for Mesut Ozil after 29 minutes as Mourinho was forced into making a early tactical change.
It soon paid dividends as the Germany playmaker's presence along with the sprightly Kaka and Ronaldo proved too much for a Rayo side that fulfilled manager Jose Ramon Sandoval's pledge to attack the stuttering Real in the build-up to the match.
A swift Real counter-attack saw Kaka charge down the centre of the pitch before laying the ball off to Ronaldo, who finished coolly between Dani's legs with seven minutes of the first half remaining.
Real, for the most part, began the second half as they ended the first, and they extended their lead five minutes after the break when Kaka's quick feet invited a challenge from Movilla which led to a penalty which Ronaldo fired in off the underside of the crossbar.
It looked as though Real were home and dry, only for Michu to pounce five minutes later and pull the score back to 3-2. The former Celta Vigo attacker found himself unmarked at the far post at a corner and he prodded the ball past Iker Casillas. The Spain keeper clawed the ball away, but it had clearly already crossed the line.
Moments after that, Di Maria was sent off for a second booking and it looked as though Real were once more in trouble. But the 10 men reopened the two-goal lead when young defender Varane opened his Real account in sensational fashion. The young Frenchman, a summer signing from Lens, met a 67th-minute corner with an improvised backheel flick that looped over Dani and dropped into the net.
Benzema came off the bench to score his fourth of the season when he coolly side-footed Ozil's low ball across the edge of the box before Ronaldo won and converted Real's second penalty of the night.
Looking at the scoreline may give the casual observer the look of a routine victory, but this bizarre match was anything but.