Real Madrid remained in touching distance of high-flying Barcelona courtesy of Wednesday’s 3-0 La Liga triumph over Almeria at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The hosts initially found it hard to break down their relegation-threatened opponents but a moment of James Rodriguez magic, a volley akin to his spectacular strike at last year’s World Cup in Brazil, put Los Blancos ahead on the stroke of half-time.
Three minutes after the break it was two. Toni Kroos sent in a menacing cross which Almeria defender Mauro Dos Santos turned into his own net following pressure from Cristiano Ronaldo.
And Real Madrid, who travel to Juventus Stadium to face the Bianconeri in next Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg, went even further in front late on as Alvaro Arbeloa nipped in to prod home Javier Hernandez’s centre with five minutes to play.
Tonight’s result sees Ancelotti’s men close the gap on Barcelona to only two points, with fourth-placed Sevilla their next challenge at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Saturday evening.