JAMES Rodriguez’s stunning volley set Real Madrid on their way to victory over Almeria as Carlo Ancelotti’s side closed on La Liga leaders Barcelona.
Rodriguez opened the scoring with a first-time strike to lift the home side out of a disappointing first half.
Almeria’s Mauro Dos Santos turned in under pressure from Cristiano Ronaldo for an own goal, with Alvaro Arbeloa adding the gloss as Real cruised home.
Norway midfielder Martin Odegaard, 16, was an unused substitute for Real.
The teenager could have become the club’s youngest player but will have to wait for his first appearance since joining from Stromsgodset in January.
Barcelona’s lead over Real at the top of the table is now two points with four games to play.
For much of the first half Real looked unlikely to respond to their rivals’ 6-0 win over Getafe on Tuesday.
But just before half-time Rodriguez produced a moment of brilliance to fire home a stunning volley worthy of comparison with his goal of the tournament for Colombia at the 2014 Fifa World Cup.
Dos Santos was then unfortunate to turn into his own net from close-range attempting to clear a Toni Kroos low cross, with Ronaldo appearing to be in an offside position.
With his side looking comfortable, expectation grew around Ancelotti’s possible introduction of Odegaard.
Capped four times by Norway, the 16-year-old was one of three youngsters named on the bench with regulars Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema all absent through injury.
It would have been a gentle introduction for the midfielder, as Real never looked like relinquishing their lead.
Arbeloa stole in front of Ronaldo to stab home a deserved third from a Javier Hernandez cross, leaving the Portugal forward kicking the net in frustration.
But Odegaard should still break Alberto Rivera’s record, who made his Real debut in 1995 at the age of 17 years and 114 days. – BBC Sport