Real Madrid 2 Espanyol 0: Bale scores on comeback as hosts extend lead


Gareth Bale scored on a dream comeback from injury as Real Madrid moved four points clear of Barcelona at the top of LaLiga with a 2-0 home win over Espanyol.

Alvaro Morata headed in Isco’s cross to score on his first league start of 2017 in the first half of a low-key match which produced few scoring opportunities after the hosts made seven changes to their team.

Madrid received an added boost when Bale returned from three months out with an ankle injury as a substitute to cap a late counterattack and seal victory, Isco again with the assist.

Madrid still have a game in hand on both Barca and third-placed Sevilla, who can reduce the leaders’ advantage down to three points by beating Eibar later on Saturday.

Zinedine Zidane’s men have now won eight straight league games at the Santiago Bernabeu as they continued their push for a first title since 2012.

Espanyol, meanwhile, have failed to beat Madrid in 19 league meetings – their worst run against any team – and stay ninth after suffering a second consecutive league defeat.

Pepe – in for the injured Sergio Ramos – squandered the first chance of the match, heading wide from Toni Kroos’ corner.

The hosts dominated possession but did not threaten again until a rapid spell of attacks just after the half-hour mark, Cristiano Ronaldo firing wide after Lucas Vazquez had capitalised on a mistake from Pablo Piatti to create the shooting opportunity.