Real Madrid regains 7-point lead over Girona in Spanish league after routing Celta Vigo

Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior celebrates after scoring his side’s first goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Celta Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP BY TALES AZZONI)
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MADRID — Vinícius Júnior scored his third goal in four games as Real Madrid eased to a 4-0 win over Celta Vigo and reclaimed a seven-point lead at the top of the Spanish league on Sunday.

Madrid’s win followed consecutive draws that included a lackluster performance against Leipzig in the Champions League, prompting jeers from the home crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Defender Antonio Rüdiger set up two goals on Sunday, and young Turkey international Arda Güler made his scoring debut with Madrid. The hosts got two own-goals.

The victory maintained Madrid’s cushion at the top after second-place Girona beat Osasuna 2-0 on Saturday and third-place Barcelona defeated Mallorca 1-0 on Friday. Barcelona, the defending champion, is eight points behind Madrid with 10 rounds left.

Madrid is unbeaten at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in 18 matches this season, with 15 wins and three draws. Its last home loss was in April 2023 against Villarreal.

Madrid had drawn four of its last seven matches in all competitions. It advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Wednesday despite a poor performance in a 1-1 draw against Leipzig.

Celta had only one attempt on target in what was its eighth straight loss to Madrid. Rafa Benítez’s team sits just outside the relegation zone, two points from danger.

Vinícius opened the scoring from close range after a firm header by Rüdiger in the 21st. Madrid added to the lead with own-goals by Vicente Guaita in the 79th and Carlos Domínguez in the 88th.

The 19-year-old midfielder Güler scored his first goal for Madrid four minutes into stoppage time.


Athletic Bilbao moved closer to the Champions League places with a 2-0 win at Las Palmas.

The victory moved the Basque Country club within two points of fourth-place Atletico Madrid, which lost 2-0 at Cadiz on Saturday.

It was Athletic’s first league win following a draw against Barcelona and a loss at Real Betis.


Rayo Vallecano’s winless streak reached 10 matches in all competitions after a 1-0 loss at Alaves.

The setback left Rayo in 16th place, four points from the relegation zone.

Andoni Gorosabel scored a first-half winner for Alaves, which hadn’t won in five consecutive league games.

Source: AP