Bale had come in for more criticism than most from Real supporters following the midweek UEFA Champions League second-leg loss to Schalke, but he volleyed home to open the scoring and then deflected Cristiano Ronaldo’s shot home just before the break. Real will travel to the Nou Camp just one point behind Spanish La Liga leaders Barcelona, for a game that will go a long way towards deciding the destiny of the title.
Carlos Bacca scored twice as Sevilla turned up the heat on Atletico Madrid in the race for Champions League qualification with a 3-0 win at home to Elche. The Colombian international opened the scoring with an 18th-minute penalty and added a second in the 31st minute by heading home from almost on the goal line.
His replacement Kevin Gameiro wrapped up the points late on as the hosts closed the gap on Atletico to four points. Third-placed Valencia are just a point further ahead, but it is Atletico’s stuttering form which would appear to offer Sevilla the greatest hope of making the top four.
Second-half goals from Juanmi Lopez and Nordin Amrabat saw Malaga comfortably beat Cordoba 2-0 to pile more misery on the league’s bottom side. Forward Lopez gave the hosts a deserved lead in the 48th minute and then substitute Amrabat came off the bench to score a delightful second, netting for the first time in ten matches.
Javi Gracia’s side tightened their grip on seventh place thanks to the win but things are looking more desperate than ever for Cordoba, who stay rooted to the foot of the table after a seventh straight defeat and are seven points from safety.
In the day’s other game, Almeria and Villarreal both failed to take their chances in an eventful game which saw both teams reduced to ten men but somehow finished goalless. Mauro dos Santos was sent off for the hosts towards the end of the first half but Villarreal lost their numerical advantage in the 55th minute when Jaume Costa was shown a second yellow card.