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Real Madrid see off Celta Vigo, 2-0, to return to La Liga summit

MADRID — 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 Vázquez and Marco Asensio, putting the side above city rivals Atlético Madrid at the top of La Liga.

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

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

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

Vázquez returned the favor 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.

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

The trip to Madrid was their biggest test so far and they 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 Vázquez.

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

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