ALMERIA, Spain (AP) — Two goals by Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real Madrid stretch its Spanish record winning streak to 20 matches as it beat Almeria 4-1 in the league on Friday.
Madrid bettered the 18-game winning streak set by Barcelona in 2005-06 when it beat Ludogorets Razgrad in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Francisco "Isco" Alarcon put Madrid ahead in the 34th by curling a shot inside the far post. Jose Garcia equalized five minutes later with a shot from outside the area after the ball was cleared straight to him, but Gareth Bale restored the lead when he rose to head in Toni Kroos' cross in the 42nd.
Ronaldo scored his 24th league goal when he tapped in Benzema's cross in the 81st before getting his 25th in the 89th.
Argentine left-winger Sebastian Dumbarbier came close to opening the scoring for Almeria in the third minute but defender Daniel Carvajal just deflected his shot for a corner.
"Almeria fought very hard all match, pressing hard," said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti. "We had some problems but in the end our quality shone through and we deserved to win."
Almeira had the chance to equalize for a second time when defender Marcelo brought down forward Edgar Mendez inside Madrid's area in the 61st, but goalkeeper Iker Casillas saved Garcia's penalty.
"I had the obligation of scoring the penalty and get my team back in the game," Garcia said. "I failed to do so and I've got the remorse that the match could have been very different."
Almeria on Tuesday fired coach Francisco Rodriguez the day after the team lost 5-2 at promoted Eibar. Interim coach Miguel Rivera, who normally coaches Almeria's B squad, was in charge for the match as new coach Juan Ignacio Martinez was due to arrive at the club Saturday. Martinez previously coached Valladolid and Levante.
The win means Madrid will finish the year as league leader on 39 points, five ahead of second-place Barcelona that is due to play Getafe on Saturday.
"We've won with that little bit of good fortune after we went up 2-1, and it was important to save that penalty," said Casillas.
Almeria stretched its winless streak at home to nine matches and is 18th place on 10 points.