• Sunday, June 16, 2024
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La Liga: Real Madrid regain seven-point lead over Girona


Vinicius Junior scored his third goal in four games as Real Madrid eased to a 4-0 win over Celta Vigo and reclaimed a seven-point lead at the top of the La Liga table.

Madrid’s win on Sunday followed consecutive draws that included a lacklustre performance against Leipzig in the Champions League, prompting jeers from the home crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Vinicius Junior turned in a rebound from Antonio Rudiger’s header 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.

Rudiger powered another 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 net.

Turkish starlet Arda Guler, whose debut season in Spain has been ravaged by injuries, came off the bench to grab his first Madrid goal in stoppage time as Carlo Ancelotti’s side brushed off the absence of the suspended Jude Bellingham.

Bellingham, La Liga’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.

Los Blancos 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.

“It was not that difficult to do better than on Wednesday,” said Ancelotti.

“We started well, we took advantage of the set-piece to take the lead and then control.

“We are happy. We have done what was needed. We know it’s an important moment of the season.”

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