Two penalties helped Real Madrid to a healthy 3-0 win Thursday in the first leg of their Copa Del Rey tie with second tier Numancia, while Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw as the La Liga giants rested their stars against Celta Vigo.
With Barcelona building their advantage at the top, every side in the top-half is looking to keep pace with them, and with this in mind, Real Madrid travel to face Celta Vigo on Sunday.
Real stay fourth in the standings on 32 points while Barca have 48 although they have played one game more.
Real sealed the win with another spot kick a minute from the end, again won by Vasquez but this time slammed home by substitute Isco, and Baroja Mayoral completed the rout a minute later with a close range header."We had a few problems in the second half but it's the result that counts", said Real coach Zinedine Zidane.
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"We are all a little angry with the result".
Celta, meanwhile, are priced at 9/2 (5.50) and the Galicians, who are usually strong at home, have only managed three wins in eight league games in front of their own fans this season. "What happened the other day is that on Thursday he continued feeling bad and we chose to do a resonance and the result is that he has something and like always we don't want to take risks", Zidane spoke about missing Ramos. "Having said that, like always I'm more interested in what we are going to do tomorrow", the Frenchman added.
"We have to analyse our game in depth".
Bale made his first start in the league since September 20 after finally recovering from persistent muscle problems and pulled Real level after Wass's strike with a slick first-time finish before giving them the lead by knocking a pass from Isco in with his back heel. We made many mistakes.