Real Madrid's Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring.
Real Madrid's Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring. Francisco Seco

Bale on target for Real in comeback game

GARETH Bale has returned from a three-month injury lay-off to help Real Madrid strengthen its position at the top of La Liga with a 2-0 home win over Espanyol.

Bale, who is on the comeback trail after injuring an ankle, scored a counter-attacking goal to seal the win after coming on as a substitute.

Madrid had taken the lead through Alvaro Morata's header from Isco's cross in the first half.

It was Morata's first league start of the year as coach Zinedine Zidane made seven changes to his starting line-up.

Madrid is now four points clear at the top of the ladder and still has a game in hand on second-placed Barcelona and third-placed Sevilla.

Real has now won eight straight league games at the Santiago Bernabeu as it looks to win its first Spanish league title since 2012.