Madrid sweep past hapless Celta to stay clear in La Liga

AFP , Sunday 10 Mar 2024

La Liga leaders Real Madrid regained their seven-point cushion at the top on Sunday as they benefited from two own goals in a comfortable 4-0 home win over struggling Celta Vigo.

Madrid s
Real Madrid s Antonio Rudiger celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side s second goal the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Celta Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain. Photo: AFP

 

Vinicius Junior turned in a rebound at the second attempt midway through the first half at the Santiago Bernabeu before a Celta side coached by former Madrid boss Rafa Benitez unravelled late on.

Antonio Rudiger powered a header against the bar which bounced back off Celta goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and over the line for an own goal, effectively sealing the points for the hosts with 11 minutes left.

Guaita was then involved in a mix-up with Carlos Dominguez as the defender bundled a teasing Vinicius cross into his own net.

Turkish starlet Arda Guler came off the bench to grab his first Madrid goal in stoppage time as Madrid brushed off the absence of the suspended Jude Bellingham.

Bellingham, the league's top scorer this season with 16 goals, watched from the stands after an appeal against the England international's two-match ban for his red card against Valencia last weekend was dismissed.

Carlo Ancelotti's side played poorly in a 1-1 draw against RB Leipzig on Wednesday, but it was enough to see them through to the Champions League quarter-finals 2-1 on aggregate.

Despite dropping points in three of their past five league games, Madrid had gained ground on second-placed Girona recently as the surprise challengers' unlikely title bid began to taper off.

Madrid are now 22 games unbeaten in La Liga and eight points above reigning champions Barcelona, who are just behind Girona in third place.

Celta remain in 17th and just two points above the relegation zone.

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