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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 10, 2013

Ronaldo brace sends Madrid second

Real Madrid climbed into second place in La Liga and returned to 13 points behind bitter rivals Barcelona after a 2-1 win over a Celta Vigo side who made them work all the way.

• La Liga: Saturday round-up
• Blog: Motivated Madrid down Celta

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a scrappy opener and a winner from the penalty spot, after Iago Aspas' equaliser, to take his tally to 188 goals in 186 appearances for the club.

Celta substitute Park Chu-Young headed against the crossbar late on but Real held on for victory.

Atlletico Madrid surrendered second place in the Primera Division as Real Sociedad brought their 100% home record in the league this season to an end with a narrow 1-0 victory at the Vicente Calderon.

Xabi Prieto scored the only goal of the game on 53 minutes but was fortunate his effort was not disallowed for offside. The victory took Phillippe Montanier's side up to fifth in the Primera Division table, behind fourth-placed Malaga on goal difference alone.

Iker Muniain scored his first goal of the season as Athletic Bilbao overcame Valencia 1-0 at San Mames to record a victory that eased their fears of being dragged into a relegation fight.

The result was also a blow to Valencia's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League, as Ernesto Valverde's side, who were knocked out of Europe's elite competition by Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, missed the chance to capitalise on Malaga's draw on Saturday and claim fourth spot.

And the Valencia coach is likely to be furious with his team for failing to at least get on the scoresheet after creating a far greater number of chances than their opponents in the second half.

Jeremy Mathieu failed to properly clear a low cross from the right hand side and Muniain pounced on the loose ball to rifle it into the top corner with the inside of his right foot after 79 minutes.

Levante missed the chance to move closer to the Europa League places as Getafe survived a one-sided goalless draw at the Ciutat de Valencia.

The east-coast outfit reached 36 points and 10th place courtesy of the stalemate - their highest-ever points tally at this stage of a Primera Division season - but they were left to rue a chronic lack of incision in front of goal.

Visiting goalkeeper Miguel Moya deserved praise for keeping Robert Acquafresca and Pedro Rios at bay in the first half but in truth, ninth-placed Getafe were lucky to escape with a point.

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