La Liga: Bale nets twice as top three all win

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Gareth Bale inspired Real Madrid to a 5-0 victory in La Liga yesterday, while both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid picked up vital away wins to ensure the title race remains delicately poised.   

The Welshman struck twice in as many minutes, as Real comfortably overame Rayo Vallecano at the Bernabeu. 

Cristiano Ronaldo broke the deadlock after 15 minutes, with Daniel Carvajal adding a second for the hosts 10 minutes into the second half. 

Bale then tapped in his first of the night after 68 minutes, turning home Angel Di Maria's cross, before adding Real's fourth with a wonderful solo goal, which saw him run from his own penalty area, then apply a comprehensive finish. 

Substitute Alvaro Morata completed the scoring with an impressive strike into the top corner, ensuring the hosts remained hot on the heels of their title rivals in third place. 

Barcelona had Lionel Messi to thank once again, after a late penalty saw them pick an important 1-0 away win over Espanyol. 

The Argentine scored a hat-trick in last week's El Clasico, including two penalties, and was on the spot once more, with the only goal of the game 13 minutes from time, following a handball from Javi Lopez. 

Espanyol then saw their goalkeeper Kiko Casilla sent off for handling outside the area, with Lopez taking over for the final few minutes. 

The victory moved Barca to the top of the table, however Atletico ensured they regained top spot a few hours later, after coming from a goal down to defeat Bilbao. 

Iker Muniain gave the hosts the lead after six minutes, with a neat lobbed finish over Thibaut Courtois, as Bilbao looked to stamp their authority on the final Champions League spot. 

Talisman Diego Costa hit back midway through the first half, before Koke scored the winner on 55 minutes with a close-range header as the league leaders picked up another impressive win. 

The title race continues to remain finely poised, with three points separating the trio of clubs at the top heading into the final seven goals.

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La Liga
Real Madrid
Gareth Bale

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