La Liga: Gareth Bale Scores As Real Madrid Extends Lead
(ESPNFC.COM) Gareth Bale marked his return to action with a goal as Real Madrid opened up a four-point lead at the top of La Liga with a 2-0 win at home to Espanyol.
Madrid made a slow start but Alvaro Morata, making his first start in over a month, broke the deadlock on 33 minutes when he headed home Isco’s fine cross — setting a new club record for goals in consecutive games.
Bale replaced Morata in the 71st minute, making his first appearance since suffering an ankle injury 88 days previously, and swiftly made his mark, completing the scoring in the 83rd minute as he raced onto Isco’s throughball before providing a perfect finish.
Kevin Gameiro scored a five-minute hat trick to give Atletico Madrid a 4-1 win at Sporting Gijon that keeps them fourth in La Liga.
After a quiet first half, Atletico went ahead just seconds after the restart when Yannick Carrasco beat Sporting keeper Ivan Cuellar, but Sergio Alvarez levelled for the hosts on 49 minutes.
Diego Simeone brought Gameiro on as a substitute just after the hour mark, and he restored Atletico’s lead on 80 minutes, rounding the goalkeeper to put Atletico ahead again with 10 minutes left.
Before Sporting could regroup, Gameiro had struck again after the Gijon defence failed to clear their lines and he then swiftly completed his treble with a low shot into the bottom corner following a breakaway.
In Saturday’s late match, Sevilla secured a 2-0 win against Eibar at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, which put them into second place and a point ahead of Barcelona.
The home side made the breakthrough on the half-hour. Stevan Jovetic nodded a long ball up field on to Wissam Ben Yedder in the left side of the penalty area, who quickly found his teammate again with a clever back heel.
The on-loan Manchester City forward then clipped the ball through the six-yard box for Pablo Sarabia to volley in at the far post.
Sevilla made sure of victory with a stoppage-time goal from substitute Vitolo after he was picked out running into the Eibar penalty area by Jovetic’s square pass from the right.
Real Madrid’s lead was cut down to three points as a result, albeit with Sevilla having also now played two matches more.
Elsewhere, Deportivo de La Coruna were again left without a win in 2017 after losing 1-0 at home to Alaves.
The visitors, who are set to face Barcelona in the final of the Copa del Rey, went ahead on 67 minutes when Manu Garcia was fouled by Raul Albentosa in the penalty area.
Midfielder Garcia got up to convert the spot kick himself, slotting the ball down the centre as goalkeeper German Lux dived early to his left.
Substitute Faycal Fajr and defender Sidnei both went close to an equaliser, but Deportivo were left empty handed once again.