BARCELONA — An insatiable Cristiano Ronaldo fired Real Madrid to a 4-1 win over Celta Vigo Wednesday to take Zinedine Zidane’s side three points clear at the top of La Liga and within touching distance of winning a first league title in five years.
Real tops the standings on 90 points meaning it needs just one point from its remaining league game at Malaga Sunday to finish ahead of Barcelona and lift a first title since Jose Mourinho’s 2012 success.
Ronaldo lashed into the near corner from outside the area to put Real in charge in the 10th minute with a goal that moved him ahead of former England striker Jimmy Greaves as the all-time leading scorer in Europe’s top five leagues on 367 goals.
The prolific Portuguese doubled his and Real’s tally in the 48th minute by latching onto a through ball from the impressive Isco and tucking it in off the near post to take Madrid closer still to a 33rd league success.
Celta’s Iago Aspas was later sent off for a second booking for diving although the home side briefly clawed its way back into the match when John Guidetti’s deflected strike looped over Keylor Navas in the 69th minute.
Karim Benzema quickly extinguished any comeback hopes by nudging home a Marcelo cutback from close range and the Frenchman and Ronaldo each wasted chances late on to add to the scoring before Toni Kroos knocked in the fourth in the 88th minute.
“The most difficult part is still to come even though we’re getting closer (to the title) every day,” Zidane told reporters.
“We have one game left but today was very important. We know what we need to do, we need to prepare well and recover from today as we gave so much.”
The game had been due to take place in February but was rescheduled after the roof of the Balaidos stadium was damaged in a storm.
Shakhtar wins 11th Ukraine Cup
Shakhtar Donetsk won the Ukraine Cup for the 11th time Wednesday, beating bitter rivals Dynamo Kiev 1-0 in the final played in the eastern city of Kharkiv.
Brazilian international midfielder Marlos scored the only goal 10 minutes from time to beat Dynamo who also won a record 11th cup two years ago.
Earlier this month, Donetsk also claimed their 10th Ukrainian league title, taking it back from last year’s champions Dynamo. — Agencies