MADRID, Oct 24, (Agencies): Real Madrid inflicted Celta Vigo’s first defeat of the season to move three points clear at the top of La Liga thanks to a 3-1 win at Balaidos on Saturday. Cristiano Ronaldo and Danilo struck within the first 23 minutes for Madrid, who were also grateful to another spectacular goalkeeping display from Keylor Navas to keep Celta at bay.
Celta were reduced to 10 men just 12 minutes into the second-half when Gustavo Cabral was dismissed for a second bookable offence, but they still pushed Madrid all the way as Nolito set up a grandstand finish five minutes from time when he fired into the top corner.
However, Marcelo rounded off the scoring with the final kick of the game. Victory takes Madrid three points clear of Celta and Barcelona, who entertain Eibar on Sunday. Both sides’ unbeaten record this season was on the line, but despite their exertions against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League in midweek and a host of injuries to key players, it was Madrid who started the brighter.
That early dominance was rewarded on eight minutes when Lucas Vazquez’s cut-back trickled through to Ronaldo who smashed home his 12th goal in as many games this season. Celta had thrashed Barcelona 4-1 last month and going behind appeared to shock the Galicians back into their early season form as Fabian Orellana forced Navas into his first and arguably best save of the afternoon as he flew to his right to turn the Chilean’s volley behind.
The hosts’ attacking intent worked against them midway through the half, though, as Jese Rodriguez picked out Danilo in acres of space on the counter-attack and the Brazilian took his time before dispatching his first goal for the club beyond Sergio Alvarez. Meanwhile, Rayo Vallecano ended a run of three consecutive league defeats following a 3-0 home win against Espanyol on Friday.