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Bale breaks scoring drought


Bale breaks scoring drought

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Gareth Bale struck a brace to end his scoring drought and Real Madrid’s winless run with a 2-0 victory over Levante on Sunday, keeping his side a point behind Spanish football leaders Barcelona before the title rivals meet next week.

Bale had been the focus of criticism during Madrid’s three games without a victory, when the player who commanded a world record €100-million transfer a year and a half ago was ineffective in attack.

The Wales winger responded by blasting in a rebound in the 18th minute to capitalise Madrid’s overwhelming start, breaking his nine-game streak without a goal.

Bale celebrated by running to the corner with his hands covering his ears before abruptly pulling them free to let in the Santiago Bernabeu’s applause.

He then grazed Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike to redirect it past goalkeeper Diego Marino in the 40th.

Madrid visit Barcelona next Sunday in a “clasico” match with the league lead on the line.

Elsewhere, Carlos Bacca scored two first-half goals to help Sevilla beat Elche 3-0 and retain control of fifth place.

Sevilla stayed ahead of Villarreal in sixth after they drew 0-0 at Almeria in a drab match where both sides finished with ten men.

Elche were left two points above Almeria, which clung to the edge of the relegation zone.

Cordoba stayed stuck at the foot of the standings just above Levante and Granada after losing 2-0 at seventh-place Malaga.