Celta Vigo 1-4 Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice as Real Madrid close in on La Liga title
Last Updated: 18/05/17 9:57am
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid took a huge step towards the La Liga title with a 4-1 victory at Celta Vigo.
Zinedine Zidane's side started the game in second place, knowing four points from their final two matches would hand them the title, and Ronaldo sent them on their way in the 10th minute with another landmark strike.
It was the former Manchester United forward's 367th goal in Europe's top five leagues, breaking Jimmy Greaves record.
It wasn't long before Ronaldo grabbed his 368th goal to double his side's advantage and they looked on course for a comfortable win when Iago Aspas was sent off in the 61st minute after receiving a second yellow card for simulation.
Celta pulled a goal back in the 68th minute through John Guidetti but the fight back was short lived as Karim Benzema (70) and Toni Kroos (88) rounded off the scoring to put Real within touching distance of their first title in five years.
Real are now three points clear of Barcelona at the top of the table and need just a point at Malaga on the final day on Sunday, live on Sky Sports. Meanwhile, Barca, who host Eibar on Sky Sports, will retain their crown if they beat Eibar and Real lose on the south coast, due to their superior goal difference.
This game was originally scheduled for February but had to be postponed due to storm damage at Balaidos, with its rearrangement for the final week of the season creating some extra drama.
For Celta there was another opportunity to move on from the missed opportunity of last week's Europa League semi-final loss to Manchester United, which took them so close to a date with Ajax.
However, Portuguese striker Ronaldo, who had matched former Tottenham forward Greaves' achievement with his goal in the 4-1 thrashing of Sevilla, did not care and 10 minutes into Wednesday night's match he nudged the 77-year-old Englishman into second place.
Picking up the ball in what seemed like a safe area Ronaldo looked up and fired an unstoppable left-footed drive into the back of Sergio Alvarez's net.
Real did not dominate the first half with an iron grip, however, and Celta enjoyed good chances to level, with Keylor Navas doing well to deny Daniel Wass when his free-kick was hit with venom.
Aspas, formerly of Liverpool, curled wide with his left boot and Celta thought they had a penalty when Raphael Varane appeared to handle the ball when Jonny tried to go around him.
Three minutes into the second period Ronaldo propelled Real into a commanding lead after receiving a clever pass from Isco, and Celta were further wounded when Aspas saw red for a second booking.
Guidetti, who came within inches of sending Celta to Stockholm for the Europa League final, cut through the disappointment with a deft finish from a Pione Sisto assist.
Any joy was short-lived, however, as Benzema re-established Real's two-goal lead with a final touch on Marcelo's ball into the Celta box on 70 minutes.
Tempers flared as time ticked away and Pablo Hernandez and Sergio Ramos earned yellow cards for clashing on the Balaidos pitch.
That was a sideshow and did not distract Real sufficiently to prevent a fourth goal, which Germany international Kroos claimed when Benzema exploited a mistake by Facundo Roncaglia.