Madrid, Feb 19 (IANS) Real Madrid extended its La Liga lead with a 2-0 home victory over Espanyol on Saturday, getting a boost from the return of Welsh forward Gareth Bale.
Spanish striker Alvaro Morata and Bale scored to secure the victory for Real Madrid in their 21st match of the season, Efe news reported
Morata opened the scoring at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium at the 33-minute mark, scoring on a header off a pass from Isco.
Bale, playing his first game after missing nearly three months with an ankle injury, took the field midway through the second half as a substitute for Morata and scored the second goal seven minutes before stoppage time.
Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane rested several key players against Espanyol, including James Rodriguez, Casemiro and Marcelo.
With the win, Real Madrid leads the La Liga standings with 52 points, four ahead of second-place Barcelona, which will face Leganes on Sunday in its 23rd match of the season.
Real Madrid is in a commanding position at this point of its La Liga campaign, since it still has postponed games pending against Valencia and Celta Vigo.
Espanyol is currently in ninth place with 32 points.