Marco Asensio and Eder Militao scored to give Real Madrid a 2-0 win against Celta at Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday and cut Barcelona’s lead at the top of La Liga to eight points.
With eight-games remaining, second-placed Real maintained its slim title hopes by moving to 65 points. Barca has a game in hand and hosts third-placed Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
In-form Atletico is undefeated in its last 13 LaLiga games and riding a six-game winning streak, 13 points behind Barca and five from Real. Celta is 12th in the standings with 36 points.
It was a lukewarm start to the match with Real not in a hurry to pressure the visitors. However, it gradually became more aggressive, with Vinicius Jr and Asensio running the channels.
Real was well on top midway through the first half and was playing the ball around Celta’s penalty area but missing that crucial final pass.
It took them 42 minutes to record its first shot on target and Asensio made the most of it, opening the scoring with a one-touch strike from the middle of the box after Vinicius ran down the left and put in a low cross for the Spain international.
Defender Militao wrapped up the win right after the break, launching himself at a corner from Asensio to score with an unstoppable towering header from close range.
Real took its foot off the pedal after that, comfortable with seeing out the game with their lead intact.
With its Champions League semifinal first leg against Manchester City only three days after it plays Osasuna in the Copa del Rey final in May, Real is banking on a win from its city rival on Sunday to spice up LaLiga’s last few weeks.
“We are going to fight until the last game, until it is mathematically impossible,” Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois told DAZN.
“It’s a pity that we dropped some points in our way... but with the Champions League in play, it can happen.
“Now we want to win the next three matches and when the Cup final arrives, we will see how far away we are. We want to win to have a good feeling ahead of the Champions League. It is key that we are all in good shape. Let’s hope we close the season well.”
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