Madrid, Feb 19: Gareth Bale scored in his first appearance after three months as Real Madrid registered an easy 2-0 win at home to Espanyol.
The Welsh intertiol returned to action after three months out in the 70th minute of the game on Saturday evening with Madrid already leading thanks to a first-half header from Alvaro Morata and sealed the points in a game where his side looked to be in control from start to finish with a trademark run and low finish into the far corner of the Espanyol net.
Even without Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric, who were both rested, Madrid looked to be at half speed against a rival that has now gone 23 years without a win in the Santiago Berbeu, reports Xinhua news agency.
Sevilla moved into second place ahead of Barcelo, who play on Sunday, with a hard-fought 2-0 win at home to Eibar, thanks to a 30th minute goal from Pablo Sarabia and an injury time strike from Vitolo.
Kevin Gameiro scored the second of the fastest hat-trick in the history of LaLiga as Atletico Madrid won 4-1 away to Sporting Gijon with goals in the 80th, 81st and 85th minutes.
A tight half ended without goals, but Yannick Carrasco needed just 13 seconds of the second half to put Atletico ahead.
Sergio Alvarez equalized five minutes later and Sporting pressed hard for a winning goal until the introduction of Thomas Partey and Saul shored up the Atletico midfield.
Carrasco came into the game just after the hour and his pace was decisive in tilting the fil result Atletico’s way to assure they will end the weekend in the top four.
Manu Garcia’s pelty gave Alaves a valuable 1-0 win away to Deportivo la Coru, who have still to win in 2017 and are now right in the battle to avoid relegation. IANS