Sports Desk, Apr 2 (EFE).- It wasn’t pretty, but Real Madrid returning to winning ways Saturday with a 2-1 result against Celta that sent the Blancos 12 points clear atop LaLiga.
Meanwhile, cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid pounded last-place Alaves 4-1, extending their league winning streak to six matches and going level on points with the club in the second spot, Sevilla, who are ahead of the Colchoneros on goal difference.
Real Madrid traveled to Vigo anxious to shake off their embarrassing 4-0 loss to Barcelona in the Clasico just before the international break and despite a generally flat performance, they came away with all 3 points.
The visitors led 1-0 at half-time on Karim Benzema’s penalty conversion in the 19th minute, a tremendous save by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to deny Celta’s Iago Aspas, and a VAR intervention that struck off Thiago Galhardo’s goal six minutes before the break.
Nolito equalized for the hosts early in the second half, but Real Madrid won another penalty in the 63rd minute and Benzema stepped to the spot.
And though the usually reliable French striker failed to convert, it didn’t deter him from taking the kick in the 69th minute after the referee awarded the Blancos yet another penalty. This time, he made no mistake and Benzema’s second goal of the contest proved to be the winner.
Real Madrid improved to 69 points, 12 better than Sevilla, who have a game in hand. Celta sit 11th in the table with 36 points.
After a poor first half of the season, reigning LaLiga champions Atleti appear to have righted the ship and a visit to the Wanda Metropolitano by the worst team in the top flight provided an opportunity to reassure any doubters.
The home side took the lead in the 11th minute with a goal by Joao Felix – the first of two on the night for the Portugal international – only to then shift into a lower gear and allow Gonzalo Escalante to bring Alaves level in the 63rd minute.
Less than 10 minutes later, Atleti sub Matheus Cunha drew a penalty and Luis Suarez scored from the spot to restore the edge for the Colchoneros.
Felix made it 3-1 in the 82nd and Suarez completed his brace in the final minute of regulation. EFE