Leaders Real Madrid pulled three points clear of second-placed Celta Vigo when they held off the valiant 10 man Galicians to secure a nervy 3-1 victory in La Liga's top-of-the-table clash.

Forward Cristiano Ronaldo and fullback Danilo struck early to put Real in control at Celta's Balaidos stadium and Real's Costa Rica goal-keeper Keylor Navas made sure they went into the break 2-0 ahead with a host of outstanding saves.

La Liga top scorers
8 Neymar (Barcelona)                  
7 Nolito (Celta Vigo)                 
   Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)     
6 Javi Guerra (Rayo Vallecano)        
   Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) 

Missing injured regulars Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez but with fit-again Luka Modric back in the starting lineup, Real were ahead in the eighth minute when Lucas Vazquez squared for Ronaldo to finish past Sergio Alvarez in the home goal.

Danilo doubled the lead 15 minutes later when he found space on the right and had time to pick his spot.

Navas, who has only conceded three goals in Spain's top flight this term, was on scintillating form in the first half and his saves from efforts by Orellana, Iago Aspas and Pablo Hernandez were out of the top draw.

Spain winger Nolito pulled a goal back with a stunning drive into the top corner five minutes from time. Marcelo scored with the last kick of the match in the 96th minute to make it 3-1.

Real have 21 points from nine matches, with Celta level on 18 with champions Barcelona, who play their game in hand at home to Eibar on Sunday.

Source: Reuters