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Summary

  1. Ronaldo heads Real in front
  2. Rodriguez curler doubles the lead
  3. Real Madrid remain four points off Barca
  4. FT: Barcelona 4-0 Almeria
  5. Suarez scores twice; Messi also nets

Live Reporting

By Andy Cryer

All times stated are UK

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That is it from me for this evening though.

Thanks for your company and enjoy the rest of your evening.

Join us on Sportsday from 08:00 BST tomorrow morning.

Bayern sneak through

German Cup

There was also drama in Germany, where holders Munich beat Bayer Leverkusen 5-3 on penalties to reach the semi-finals of the German Cup.

Earlier, third division Arminia Bielefeld stunned in-form Borussia Moenchengladbach, also on penalties, after a 1-1 draw at the end of extra time.

Zlatan at the treble

French Cup

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
AFP

Elsewhere in Europe, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores a treble as Paris St-Germain reach the French Cup final with a 4-1 home victory over St Etienne.

As you were in La Liga.

So it is as you were in the La Liga title race. Barcelona still lead by four points after wins for both Barca and Real this evening. This could become tight.

FULL-TIME

Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid

Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid

What an opportunity. The ball falls to Tito 10 yards out but he can only volley wide. He has to score.

Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid

Rayo deserve a goal at least but it doesn't look as though they will get one as another cross is cleared by Real.

GREAT SAVE!

Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid

Iker Casillas again frustrates the hosts as Manucho's downward header is parried away.

CLOSE!

Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid

Gareth Bale
AP

Gareth Bale skips past goalkeeper David Cobeno and pulls the ball back to the waiting Cristiano Ronaldo inside the penalty area. This time though the Portuguese can only side foot at Cobeno.

Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid

The Rayo fans have been absolutely tremendous and still they bounce up and down and chant. They have every right to be proud of their side.

Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid

Rayo Vallecano are still giving this a go but the wind appears to have been taken out of their sails. Real Madrid are in control.

Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

Jay: Unless Ronaldo scores two more in the next 8 minutes, we'll all know that the 8 minute hat-trick was a fluke.

Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid

So it looks as though Real Madrid will return to being just four points adrift of La Liga leaders Barcelona. At half time, you wouldn't have put your money on it.

Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid

Finally Real Madrid are enjoying themselves. You get the feeling there could be a few more goals on the cards as Toni Kroos fires over from 30 yards.

Poor Rayo Vallecano, they don't deserve this.

GOAL

Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Real Madrid - James Rodriguez (74 mins)

James Rodriguez
AFP

Game over now surely? James Rodriguez shows his class as he curls the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot.

Deportivo sack boss

Victor Fernandez
Getty Images

Some breaking news from La Liga as Deportivo La Coruna, who are two points outside the relegation zone, have sacked Victor Fernandez as boss.

They lost 2-1 to Getafe at the weekend.

Fernandez was only appointed in the summer.

GREAT SAVE!

Rayo Vallecano 0-1 Real Madrid

Great response from Rayo as Nacho has a stinging 20-yard drive parried away by goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Don't write the hosts off yet.

GOAL

Rayo Vallecano 0-1 Real Madrid - Cristiano Ronaldo (68 mins)

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale
AFP

Yes they will and who else but Cristiano Ronaldo?

The Portuguese has the simple task of heading home from close range after Dani Carvajal brilliantly advances down the right and crosses. A huge goal in the La Liga title race.

CLOSE!

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Hit the target Real. James Rodriguez fires powerfully over from the edge of the penalty area as the clock continues to tick down. Will the visitors get that all-important breakthrough?

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Left winger Adri Embarba was a constant threat in the opening half for Rayo Vallecano but he has been quieter this half.

He does cut in and shoot straight at goalkeeper Iker Casillas though.

Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

Cristiano Ronaldo
AFP

Matt Love: At least we know it's not just the premier league where ref's make horrendous decisions!

Nahum Goulding: Worst decision ever.

Andrew Smith: What a disgraceful decision from the ref, as obvious a penalty as you will see all season.

Cristiano Ronaldo still looks annoyed (see 50 mins)

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Real Madrid have only won two of their last five La Liga matches and you can see why. They look disjointed.

Cristiano Ronaldo sends a speculative volley wildly over from 20 yards.

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Roberto Trashorras
AFP

You have to admire Vallecano's bravery. The hosts keep playing football from the back and getting away with it. Bold stuff.

CLOSE!

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Real are growing in confidence. Gareth Bale cuts inside and shoots just wide from the right. The Rayo fans are a tad bit quieter now.

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

This is anyone's match at the moment. It is incessant attacking from both sides - and Real again go close.

Marcelo lets loose with a screamer from 25 yards but it is inches wide.

CLOSE!

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Real are looking more of an attacking threat as this match swings from end to end. Karim Benzema drags a shot wide of goal after racing clear. He should do better.

YELLOW CARD

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo
Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo fouled
AFP

Referee - you have had an absolute howler.

Cristiano Ronaldo is clearly taken down by Antonio Amaya's sliding tackle inside the penalty area. The Portuguese has no chance of keeping his feet as the whistle goes. Penalty surely?

No. Ronaldo is booked for diving. Real are furious.

CLOSE!

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

James Rodriguez
EPA

Out of nothing, Real are almost ahead. James Rodriguez crosses in from the left and Gareth Bale's diving header is just wide of the far post.

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Here we go again. It is the hosts who start the quicker as Gael Kakuta is just unable to get his head to Tito's cross from the left.

KICK-OFF

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Can Rayo repeat their first-half dominance? You'd have to think not. Game on.

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Karim Benzema
EPA

Many of Real's attacking stars have been virtually invisible so far. They need to step up to the plate in the second 45 minutes.

Match stats

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Rayo Vallecano attempted 11 shots, more than they have managed in any other first half in La Liga this season.

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo
AP

Wakey, wakey Real Madrid.

Barcelona moved seven points clear at the top of La Liga earlier this evening with a 4-0 win at home to Almeria and, so far, Real are not responding.

They need to.

HALF-TIME

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

GREAT SAVE!

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

Real Madrid will be delighted to get in at the break still level. They aren't there yet though as Rayo come forward again...

And that is so close to the opener. A delicious cross from the right by Tito is met by Roberto Trashorras at the far post but his header is beaten away by Iker Casillas.

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

A dangerous position for Real Madrid as Marcelo and Raphael Varane stand over a free-kick 45 yards out. It is beautifully whipped in by the latter but Cristiano Ronaldo heads over the bar. Their best effort of the match - and it wasn't really close.

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

A slight lull in proceedings as the hosts get their breath. They have been superb in this opening 38 minutes though.

Join the debate at #bbceurofooty

John McEnerney: RM need some big performances or they'll end up with nowt! Flatlined after Xmas after being "Winter Champs".

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

And that is so close to the opener as the left-wing corner is swung in and Manucho deflects the ball towards goal only to see it blocked by a grateful Iker Casillas. No one could have expected the hosts to be enjoying this type of dominance.

Rayo Vallecano 0-0 Real Madrid

A fifth corner of the half for the hosts. The crowd are willing it in...