Real Madrid blank Celta, cut into Barcelona lead

Marco Asensio and Eder Militao scored to give Real Madrid a 2-0 win against Celta at Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday and cut Barcelona’s lead at the top of LaLiga to eight points.

With eight-games remaining, second-placed Real maintained their slim title hopes by moving to 65 points. Barca have a game in hand and host third-placed Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

In-form Atletico are undefeated in their last 13 LaLiga games and riding a six-game winning streak, 13 points behind Barca and five from Real. Celta are 12th in the standings on 36 points.

It was a lukewarm start to the match with Real not in a hurry to pressure the visitors. However, they gradually became more aggressive, with Vinicius Jr and Asensio running the channels.

Real were well on top midway through the first half and were playing the ball around Celta’s penalty area but missing that crucial final pass.

It took them 42 minutes to record their first shot on target and Asensio made the most of it, opening the scoring with a one-touch strike from the middle of the box after Vinicius ran down the left and put in a low cross for the Spain international.

Defender Militao wrapped up the win right after the break, launching himself at a corner from Asensio to score with an unstoppable towering header from close range.

Real took their foot off the pedal after that, comfortable with seeing out the game with their lead intact.

With their Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City only three days after they play Osasuna in the Copa del Rey final in May, Real are banking on a win from their city rivals on Sunday to spice up LaLiga’s last few weeks.

“We are going to fight until the last game, until it is mathematically impossible,” Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois told DAZN.

“It’s a pity that we dropped some points in our way… but with the Champions League in play, it can happen.

“Now we want to win the next three matches and when the Cup final arrives, we will see how far away we are. We want to win to have a good feeling ahead of the Champions League. It is key that we are all in good shape. Let’s hope we close the season well.”

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