Late double from Ronaldo seals flattering Real win

Mon Jan 6, 2014 6:25pm EST
 
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By Tim Hanlon

BARCELONA (Reuters) - A late double from Cristiano Ronaldo put some gloss on a stuttering performance from Real Madrid as they beat Celta Vigo 3-0 to cut the gap at the top of La Liga to five points.

The pressure was on Real with leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid having won their first matches of the year.

However, with Ronaldo unusually quiet and record signing Gareth Bale only fit enough for the bench Real were frustrated by a Celta side who had several chances to score before Karim Benzema broke the deadlock midway through the second half.

Ronaldo poked in Real's second after 82 minutes and then thumped in his second of the night from substitute Bale's cross for his 400th career goal.

"It was not a good performance and we need to learn how to be tighter at the back," Real coach Carlo Ancelotti told a news conference. "We lacked balance as we had a lot of players going forward and were open to the counter-attack."

"Celta defended deeply and it wasn't easy but we should have been more balanced when we pressed."

Victory kept Real in pursuit of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid who are on 49 points after beating Elche and Malaga respectively.

Real survived an early scare when keeper Diego Lopez was forced into an excellent save from Charles after a long ball from Augusto Fernandez had sent him clear of a napping defence.   Continued...

 
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (C) celebrates his goal against Celta Vigo during their Spanish First Division soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Andrea Comas