Gareth Bale strikes double for Real Madrid; Messi, Barcelona edge Sevilla

Gareth Bale scored two first-half goals as Real Madrid dispatched minnows Leganes 3-0, recording their first clean sheet in 11 matches.

Bale struck his sixth and seventh goals of the season in the last seven minutes of the first half, with Alvaro Morata adding the third in the second period as Zinedine Zidane’s side went two points clear at the top of La Liga.

Real’s fourth straight league win was never in doubt once Bale had tapped home his second goal in first-half stoppage time, and Real comfortably saw the game out to extend their unbeaten home league run to six matches.

Barcelona climbed to within two points of Real with a thrilling 2-1 defeat of Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

An energetic Sevilla dominated the first half against the defending La Liga champions and were rewarded for their efforts in the on the quarter-hour, when Vitolo collected a through ball behind the Barca back line and poked his shot just past a spread out Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Barca worked themselves a lifeline two minutes before the break, however, through none other than Lionel Messi, who side-footed a Neymar layoff through a forest of legs and into the bottom corner of Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico’s goal from just outside the box.

And Barca wrapped up the three points just after the hour mark — Luis Suarez sliding his shot from close range underneath Rico after Messi expertly found him alone on the right.

Villarreal moved up into third place with a 2-0 win over Real Betis at El Madrigal to increase the pressure on Los Verdiblancos boss Gus Poyet.

Goals from Manu Trigueros and Roberto Soriano condemned Betis to a fourth defeat in five league matches.

Celta Vigo came from behind to beat Valencia 2-1 at Balaidos as the visitors slid further towards the drop zone.

Dani Parejo’s penalty had put Valencia ahead after 33 minutes, but Facundo Roncaglia levelled just before the break and John Guidetti headed in the winner with 14 minutes remaining.

The result sees Celta move up to eighth, but Valencia are just one point above the drop zone with 10 points from 11 matches.

Espanyol were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Athletic Bilbao in the afternoon’s other game.

Espn fc

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