Real Madrid secure La Liga title with victory over Malaga
Malaga 0 - 2 Real Madrid

Real Madrid secure La Liga title with victory over Malaga

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema swept Real Madrid to their first La Liga title in five years as they cruised to a 2-0 win at Malaga on Sunday night.

Needing just a point to confirm the crown in Zinedine Zidane's first full season in charge, Ronaldo settled any nerves when he fired home with just two minutes on the clock.

And Benzema's second 10 minutes into the second half effectively sealed the title for Real, who still have the Champions League final against Juventus to come.

Defeat was almost unthinkable for Zidane's men after leading the table for so much of the season but the absence of both Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal provided a blow before kick-off.

But Ronaldo struck with his first touch to set his side on their way, getting behind the Malaga defence to meet Isco's lofted through-ball and round Carlos Kameni before slotting home.

Black-clad Real appeared to be cruising but they received a wake-up call in the 13th minute when Sandro Ramirez cut into the corner of the visitors' box and struck a shot which was well saved by Keylor Navas.

And eight minutes later the hosts came even closer when former Barcelona man Sandro fired in a brilliant free kick which was pawed away from his top corner by a full-stretch Navas.

As Real settled, Sergio Ramos headed just over the bar from a Luka Modric cross, then Ronaldo ended a fine solo run with a low shot that was saved by Kameni.

Kameni denied Ronaldo once again shortly after the half-hour mark when the Portuguese star met Benzema's square ball across the six yard box but saw his shot blocked by the goalkeeper's legs.

Kameni also saved from Benzema at close range but Malaga ended the first half well with two more chances for Sandro, the first direct from a corner which was tipped over by Navas, and the second a powerful rising shot that grazed the bar.

With Barcelona still struggling to claim the three points they needed at Eibar, the pressure perhaps eased on the visitors and there was little doubt they viewed their second goal as confirmation of the long-awaited title.

It arrived in the 55th minute when Ramos met a Toni Kroos corner and slammed a shot straight at Kameni, and Benzema was on hand to bundle home the rebound.

Malaga pushed in the later stages, but without the hugely impressive Sandro, who was substituted in the 71st minute, their attacks lacked flair and invariably ran straight into Real's defensive wall.

Even news of Barcelona's unlikely comeback against Eibar could not cause Madrid's nerves to jangle as the two sides played out a virtual non-event in the dying minutes of the game.

Marcelo lashed a wild shot well wide of target, then Chory Castro forced a save out of Navas as the visitors eased to the final whistle which was greeted by the entire squad streaming across the pitch in celebration.

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