BARCELONA – Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick led Real Madrid to a thumping 6-2 win at Sevilla as Jose Mourinho's side stormed back to the top of the Primera Division standings.
The Portugal forward scored twice and Jose Maria Callejon was credited with the second as Real responded to last weekend's 3-1 Clasico loss at home to Barcelona by taking a 3-0 first-half lead, though Pepe was sent off shortly before the break.
The impressive Angel Di Maria added the fourth and, after Jesus Navas pulled a goal back but Sevilla's Manu Del Moral followed Pepe in seeing red, Ronaldo netted his 111th goal in 112 appearances for the club from a penalty and Hamit Altintop and Alvaro Negredo traded late goals.
Di Maria's superbly threaded pass played in Karim Benzema early on, but Varas stuck out a foot to deny the France frontman and then gathered Di Maria's weak follow-up.
But the keeper had no answer a minute later when Di Maria again split the home defence with a sublime pass and Ronaldo raced onto the ball to slot home.
Iker Casillas dived full length to push Del Moral's effort onto the post and save Real when an equaliser looked certain, and made another excellent diving stop from Piotr Trochowski's low shot.
Federico Fazio headed Ivan Rakitic's corner over and Del Moral failed to find an empty net when Negredo's low shot flashed across goal, though a marginal offside flag spared his blushes to an extent.
Another tight offside call, this time against Martin Caceres, saved Real when Emir Spahic headed home after Casillas flailed at Rakitic's free-kick - but the visitors soon extended their lead.
Di Maria floated the ball into the box from deep in midfield and Callejon raced in, leading Varas to misjudge the ball. Callejon celebrated, though replays were inconclusive as to whether he got a touch.
Ronaldo made it 3-0 before the interval, finding the top corner with a swirling shot from 30 yards, and Benzema was denied a fourth after being penalised for handball.
Pepe earned a second yellow card shortly before half-time when he senselessly stuck an arm into Negredo's face as the pair chased a through-ball.
Casillas had to punch away Navas' dangerous cross before another delivery from the winger arrived behind Rakitic, who could only shoot weakly straight at the keeper.
Negredo overhit his pass to unmarked substitute Frederic Kanoute and Gary Medel's dipping shot flashed wide.
Ronaldo tricked his way through but sliced wide, while Medel was denied a penalty at the other end after a coming together with Alvaro Arbeloa.
If Di Maria may have had claims on the second goal, there was no doubt about the fourth as the Argentina international deservedly got on the scoresheet in the 66th minute, racing onto Benzema's through-ball and steering a low effort past Varas before dedicating the goal to his late father-in-law.
Navas quickly pulled one back, finishing low from 15 yards after the ball was squared into his path by Jose Campana, but Del Moral was harshly shown a straight red card after a trip - possibly interpreted as a kick - from behind on Arbeloa. Del Moral's frustrated greeting to the coat handed to him on the sideline, though, was unmistakably a kick.
Kanoute headed wide but Fazio's clumsy foul on Benzema allowed Ronaldo to complete his hat-trick, the Portuguese's low spot-kick beating Varas' dive.
Ronaldo was denied a second penalty after toppling over Varas but substitute Altintop netted the sixth after Xabi Alonso squared the ball to him six yards out.
There was time for a token consolation goal, Negredo netting from a narrow angle after rounding Casillas, but to little fanfare.