Bale’s brace pow­ers Real to vic­tory

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

MADRID (AP): WITH KARIM Ben­zema out in­jured and Cris­tiano Ron­aldo play­ing be­low ex­pec­ta­tions again, Gareth Bale came through and got the job done for Real Madrid.

Bale scored a pair of goals just be­fore half-time to lead Madrid to a 3-0 win over Le­ganes yes­ter­day, se­cur­ing the Span­ish league lead for his team ahead of the city derby against Atletico Madrid.

Al­varo Mo­rata, re­plac­ing Ben­zema in the start­ing line-up, sealed Madrid’s fourth straight vic­tory with a sec­ond-half goal at the San­ti­ago Bern­abeu Sta­dium.

Madrid reached 27 points, two more than sec­ond-placed Barcelona, which de­feated Sevilla 2-1 yes­ter­day. Atletico, which lost 2-0 at Real So­ciedad on Satur­day, are cur­rently third with 21 points from 11 matches.

Madrid, un­beaten this sea­son, play against Atletico at the Vi­cente Calderon on Novem­ber 19, fol­low­ing the in­ter­na­tional break.

“I’m pleased with the work ev­ery­one put in, not any player in par­tic­u­lar,” Madrid coach Zine­dine Zi­dane said. “There will al­ways be one who makes the dif­fer­ence, but the great thing to­day was the team.”

Bale dom­i­nated the ac­tion from the start and was Madrid’s most dan­ger­ous for­ward through­out the match and his first goal came just as the crowd was grow­ing im­pa­tient with the team’s lack­lus­tre play.

Af­ter a per­fect long pass by Fran­cisco “Isco” Alar­con in the 38th minute, Bale calmly found the net af­ter his first at­tempt was stopped by the goal­keeper.

Bale’s sec­ond came in firsthalf in­jury time af­ter a free

BALE

kick cross into the area. The ball was de­flected to­wards Bale and he eas­ily scored from just in front of the goal line.

Bale also had two great scor­ing chances early in the sec­ond half, first with a close-range shot and then with a header, both re­quir­ing dif­fi­cult saves by Le­ganes goal­keeper Jon An­der Ser­antes.

TOP-FLIGHT

Ben­zema was side­lined be­cause of a knee ail­ment, and re­place­ment Mo­rata got Madrid’s third goal from in­side the area af­ter a pass by Toni Kroos in the 76th.

Zi­dane brought back mid­fielder Luka Mo­dric, who en­tered the match in the 62nd af­ter be­ing side­lined for al­most a month fol­low­ing a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure on his knee.

It was the fourth con­sec­u­tive loss for Le­ganes, who were mak­ing their first-di­vi­sion de­but at the Bern­abeu. This is the team’s first time in the top-flight.

Sev­enth-placed Ath­letic Bilbao were held to a 0-0 draw at Es­panyol for their third straight game with­out a win in the league.

Celta Vigo moved to eighth af­ter com­ing from be­hind to beat Va­len­cia 2-1 at home. Swedish for­ward John Guidetti scored Celta’s win­ner in the 77th.

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