Madrid, April 3 (IANS) Real Madrid opened up a 12-point lead at the top of La Liga over Sevilla and moved 15 points clear of Barcelona, thanks to a controversial 2-1 win away to Celta Vigo. Referee Gonzalez Fuentes blew three penalties for Real Madrid and ruled out a Celta goal for offside.
Karim Benzema put Real Madrid ahead in the 19th minute on from the penalty spot on Saturday night after Nolito clipped Eder Militao’s heel as he was preparing to shoot. Celta were denied an equaliser when the referee ruled out Thiago Galhardo’s header due to possible interference from Iago Aspas.
Celta levelled in the 52nd minute when Nolito scored from close range, but although Benzema saw a penalty saved in the 63rd minute after Rodrygo had been brought down, the Frenchman netted his third penalty of the afternoon after Ferland Mendy was judged to have been fouled on the edge of the home area shortly afterwards to give his side a vital win, Xinhua reports.
Joao Felix kept up his excellent recent form with two goals and Luis Suarez added two more as Atletico Madrid won 4-1 at home to Alaves. The Portuguese forward opened the scoring after 11 minutes of a close first half and Alaves got a deserved equaliser thanks to Gonzalo Escalante in the 63rd minute.
However, a soft penalty allowed Suarez to put Atletico back in front with 15 minutes left to play. Felix scored a third with eight minutes to play and Suarez added a fourth in the last minute.
Borja Mayoral’s 81st minute goal gave Getafe a 1-0 win at home to Mallorca that just about assures the home side’s top-flight future.
Mallorca improved in Javier Aguirre’s debut as first team coach, and was unlucky to be reduced to 10 men when Franco Russo was shown a second yellow card for handball which also saw Getafe given a penalty.
Mallorca keeper Sergio Rico saved the penalty and the follow-up, but was helpless as Mayoral slid the ball across him.
Two magic moments from captain Jose Luis Morales in the second half gave Levante a 2-0 win against Villarreal, who might think more of their Champions League tie with Bayern Munich next week.
FC Barcelona will entertain Sevilla and four more matches are scheduled on Sunday, before the round of matches ends with Real Sociedad playing Espanyol on Monday.