Madrid, Jan 11 (IANS) Spanish football giants Real Madrid got back to winning ways to pile the pressure on title rivals, FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, ahead of their Sunday showdown, when they cruised to a 3-0 home win against Espanyol in a La Liga match here.
No side have lost to Real Madrid as many times as Espanyol and the match stayed true to the norm Saturday. James Rodriguez put Real in front, finishing off a move involving forwards Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo in the 12th minute, reports Xinhua.
Bale doubled Madrid’s lead with a magnificent free-kick after 28 minutes and defender Nacho Fernandez scored his first ever goal for the club to seal the win 16 minutes from time.
Defender Fabio Coentrao was harshly sent off just five minutes in the second half, but Espanyol were unable to exploit the fact their rivals played for 40 minutes with just 10 men.
Valencia, who beat Real Madrid a week ago, witnessed its goalkeeper Diego Alves save a penalty from Celta Vigo winger Fabio Orellana but was held to a 1-1 draw.
Rodrigo opened the scoring for Valencia following a terrible error from Celta keeper, Sergio Alvarez.
Celta went into the game after failing to score in their last six league matches, but Orellana finally ended the drought in the second half, marking a 727-minute lull.
Meanwhile, hosts Malaga and Villarreal drew 1-1 at the La Rosaleda Stadium. Jonathan Dos Santos opened the scoring for the visitors in first half injury time, but his goal was cancelled out by Amrabat 15 minutes after the break.
Friday saw the 18th round of matches kick off with a tedious 0-0 draw between Levante and Deportivo la Coruna.