Madrid – Real Madrid trimmed the gap to joint leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to five points when Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo scored in a laboured 2-0 La Liga win at home to promoted Celta Vigo on Saturday.
Jose Mourinho's side, who are clawing their way up the table after a poor start to the defence of their title, took an 11th-minute lead at the Bernabeu thanks to an Higuain cross-shot from the left that looped over Celta goalkeeper Sergio into the net.
They struggled to break through the visitors' well-drilled defence, however, and needed a 67th-minute Ronaldo penalty, awarded after a foul on Mesut Ozil, to double their lead. It was the Portugal forward's ninth goal of the campaign.
Celta came close to pulling a goal back late on but Real keeper Iker Casillas produced a fine save to keep out South Korea striker Park Chu-young's header.
Real are fourth on 14 points from eight matches, with Barca and Atleti both on 19 from seven. Barca play at promoted Deportivo Coruna in Saturday's late kickoff (10pm), while Atleti are at Real Sociedad on Sunday (9.30pm).
Malaga have 17 points in third after Joaquin netted a late winner for the Andalusians in a 2-1 success at home to Real Valladolid.
Valladolid took an early lead through Angola forward Manucho, who was sent off 10 minutes from time after picking up a second yellow card.
Promising Spain Under-21 playmaker Isco levelled before halftime before Joaquin, a former Spain winger, struck in the 87th minute to make up for fluffing a penalty two minutes earlier. – Reuters