Magnificent Madrid near title

Real Madrid stand just a point away from a first La Liga title in five years after dismantling 10-man Celta Vigo 4-1 in Wednesday’s rearranged fixture.

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Another brace from Cristiano Ronaldo fired Madrid to a seventh straight away win in the League, but Celta left Balaidos feeling aggrieved as Keylor Navas delivered a world-class performance between the visitors’ sticks.

Referee Juan Martinez Munuera also sent off Iago Aspas for diving, despite the striker being charged down by Sergio Ramos in the box.

Manchester United target James Rodriguez missed out with a foot injury as Madrid went 4-3-1-2 with Isco in the hole against Celta, who named a full-strength XI.

Victory for Los Blancos would have left them needing just a point at Malaga in Sunday’s final round of fixtures for the League. However, the Galicians prevailed 4-3 on aggregate in the Copa del Rey the last time both sides met.

The match was originally due to be played in February, but adverse weather resulted in damage to part of Balaidos and the game’s eventual postponement.

Celta made a bright start, yet it was Ronaldo who opened the scoring for Madrid for the 10th time this season. Isco laid off the No 7, who rifled a shot past Sergio Alvarez, making him the all-time top goalscorer in Europe’s top five Leagues on 367.

The visitors had kept clean sheets in only two of their last 15 League games, and they almost conceded from Daniel Wass’ free kick. However, his thunderous effort was pushed away by Keylor Navas.

Karim Benzema, meanwhile, drilled an inch-perfect cross towards the far post, which beat Sergio but not Facundo Roncaglia, the defender sliding the ball out for a corner before Ronaldo could tap in.

Back at the other end, Aspas – La Liga’s top Spanish scorer – hit a snapshot into side-netting, before bending one inches wide of Keylor’s far post.

Controversy reared its ugly head for a moment, when Jonny Castro’s cross appeared to be blocked by Varane’s arm. The referee ignored the full-back’s appeals and showed Aspas a yellow card for dissent.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, played a delicious reverse pass to Benzema, who was clearly level with Celta's defensive line yet wrongly adjudged offside.

A gap suddenly opened up between the Galicians’ centre-backs, but the Frenchman’s side-footed shot – while stinging Sergio’s palms – was caught by the goalkeeper.

Just three minutes into the restart, a magnificent counterattack from Madrid saw Guidetti fail to take on Wass’ pinpoint cross first time and Isco evade a couple of challenges en route to measuring a perfectly-weighted ball for Ronaldo.

The 32-year-old was level with Celta’s high line, raced towards the box and angled a strike in off Sergio’s left-hand post.

Frustratingly, another questionable call by the referee marred the final half-hour as Ramos threw himself into the back of Aspas near his own goal, yet the forward was shown a second yellow for diving.

Moments later, Ronaldo went down under Jonny Castro’s challenge in the other box, which Martinez Munuera also ignored, but the official refused to book the Portuguese for simulation.

Celta boss Eduardo Berizzo wasn’t in his side’s dugout due to a suspension, and he was joined by his assistant for protesting the decision to spare the Portuguese.

Out of nowhere, the hosts earned themselves a lifeline, when Guidetti unleashed a shot that deflected off Ramos and past Keylor.

Barely 60 seconds later, Marcelo led a Madrid counter, shimmied down the left and rolled the ball across Sergio’s goal for a Benzema tap-in.

Ronaldo had all the time in the world to make it 4-1 as he sat down Sergio, but the No 7 sent the ball wide from a yard out.

Martinez Munuera dished out eight yellow cards on the night, and two of those were shown to Ramos and Pablo Hernandez. The pair squared up after the defender elbowed Guidetti without punishment and the Chilean kicked out at his rival in retaliation.

Substitute Lucas Vazquez had a low shot parried away by Sergio, but Toni Kroos went one better, coolly dispatching from close range, to leave Madrid two wins away from a first League-and-European Cup double since 1958.

Celta Vigo 1-4 Real Madrid

Guidetti 69, Aspas sent off 62 (CV) Ronaldo 10, 48, Benzema 70, Kroos 88 (RM)

Celta Vigo: Sergio; Mallo, Cabral, Roncaglia, Jonny; Pablo Hernandez, Jozabed (Marcelo Diaz 72), Wass; Aspas, Guidetti (Beauvue 86), Sisto (Pape 80)

Real Madrid: Keylor; Danilo, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro (Kovacic 71), Kroos; Isco (Lucas Vazquez 84); Benzema, Ronaldo (Asensio 84)

Referee: Martinez Munuera