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Real Madrid win to go top, Gerard stars as Villarreal go fourth

Real Madrid went provisionally top of La Liga after a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Barcelona, 3 January 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Real Madrid went provisionally top of La Liga after a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday.

The champions were ahead after six minutes when Marco Asensio broke down the left and crossed for Lucas Vazquez to head in at the far post.

Seconds before, Iago Aspas had the chance to put Celta Vigo in front but Nacho cleared and Madrid broke immediately to score.

It was a miserable night for Aspas who hobbled off after a foul from Nacho and needed ice on a hamstring injury.

With their captain off the pitch Celta fell further behind on 53 minutes with Asensio this time scoring from Lucas’ assist.

It was a double mistake from Jeison Murillo. First he gifted Luka Modric possession and then he was second to the loose ball as Lucas teed-up Asensio.

Eden Hazard and Martin Odegaard were late luxury subs for Real Madrid who really don’t need them right now.

Lucas said: “We wanted to press them high and not let them play out easily and we did that.

“Every game is important at the moment but the team is in good form and we are on a good run.

“I’m on good form too and that is what is keeping me in the team. Atletico have the advantage at the top but we will fight to the finish.”

Real move top but Atletico Madrid can regain top spot on Sunday if they win away at Alaves.

Villarreal beat Levante 2-1 to go fourth.

Fer Nino scored the Primera Division’s first goal of 2021 when he converted Alfonso Pedrazo’s cross on 19 minutes.

When Gerard Moreno netted his ninth goal of the season to make it 2-0 on 56 minutes the game seemed over but Sergio Leon headed in to make for a tense finish.

“Our ambition is to finish in the top four,” Villarreal coach Unai Emery said with his side in fourth.

He was also asked about the absence of Takefusa Kubo as the Japan international is on loan from Real Madrid but could move to another club this month.

“He has asked to leave because he does not think he is playing as much as he should be,” Emery said.

Sevilla could have leapfrogged Villarreal back into fourth but they failed to beat Real Betis in their city derby.

Sevilla took the lead on 48 minutes when Suso buried Youssef En-Nesyri’s cross but Betis got a deserved equalizer when Sergio Canales converted from the spot after Diego Carlos brought down Loren Moron.

Canales might have had the chance to win it for Betis when Marcos Acuna fouled Nabil Fekir but Fekir asked to take the spot-kick and missed it.

Getafe were beaten 1-0 by Valladolid in the other game. That result meant Valladolid climbed out of the bottom three and dropped Valencia into the relegation zone ahead of their game on Monday against Cadiz.

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