Real Madrid goes top of La Liga after 2-0 victory over Celta Vigo

The win took the Spanish champion to the summit on 36 points, one ahead of second-placed Atletico which has three games in hand and on Sunday visits Alaves.

Marco Asensio of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Celta Viga at the Santiago Bernabeu.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Real Madrid beat an in-form Celta Vigo 2-0 at home on Saturday thanks to a goal and assist apiece from Spanish pair Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio, putting the side above city rival Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.

The win took the Spanish champion to the summit on 36 points, one ahead of second-placed Atletico which has three games in hand and on Sunday visits Alaves.

Real was smarting from a surprise 1-1 draw at struggling Elche in its last match and was missing captain Sergio Ramos, who was out with a stomach bug.

 

But it got off to an ideal start courtesy a towering header from Vazquez, who out-jumped two Celta defenders to power home a cross from Asensio.

Vazquez returned the favour early in the second half to tee up Asensio after Madrid had recovered the ball high in Celta's half. Zinedine Zidane's side comfortably saw out the victory, ending Celta's unbeaten run of six games under new coach Eduardo Coudet.

"We said before the game that after slipping up against Elche, we wanted to show our usual aggression and win the ball back high up the pitch," said Vazquez.

"Right now every game is key, we are on a good run, we didn't expect to draw the other day, but the team is in good shape, and if we keep playing like this we'll be fighting for everything."

Celta had won five of its previous six league games since Argentine Coudet took charge in November after Oscar Garcia was sacked, taking it from the bottom of the standings to within striking distance of the European places.

 

The trip to Madrid was its biggest test so far and it almost took the lead when talismanic striker Iago Aspas ran through and knocked the ball past keeper Thibaut Courtois but Real defender Nacho recovered to clear it off the line.

Madrid broke immediately with a long ball to Asensio, whose cross was nodded in by Vazquez.

Real nearly doubled its lead when Dani Carvajal tried his luck from outside the box and saw his shot whistle past the post.

Celta had failed to pull off its usual style of intense pressing, and it suffered a huge blow when Aspas, La Liga's joint-top scorer with nine goals, was forced off in visible pain with a suspected muscle injury.

Asensio's goal moments later delivered a knockout blow and it later also lost forward Nolito to an injury.

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