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Bale strike seals Real win in Madrid derby

The Associated PressMADRID (AP) — Real Madrid is making it clear it’s still in the fight for the Spanish league title.

With a convincing victory in the Madrid derby on Saturday, Real Madrid returned to second place in the Spanish league for the first time since September and moved within five points of leader Barcelona, which has a difficult away match against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

“We reached our goal, which was to regain second place and move closer to the lead,” Madrid captain Sergio Ramos said. “The league isn’t over yet. There are many points still up for grabs. We will keep fighting until the end and we will keep trying to make things difficult for Barcelona.”

In a derby marked by video review, Real Madrid defeated Atletico Madrid 3-1 at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium with an overhead kick by Casemiro, a penalty kick converted by Ramos, and a second-half goal by Gareth Bale.

“You need to play a complete match to win here, and we did that,” manager Santiago Solari said.

Antoine Griezmann scored for Atletico, which lost at home for the first time this season. Diego Simeone’s team stayed six points off the lead.

Griezmann’s goal was initially disallowed for offside but the VAR reversed the call. Video review also had to be used to confirm the penalty that led to Ramos’ goal just before halftime, and to verify another offside call that disallowed a second-half equalizer by former Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata. It was also used when Morata wanted a penalty call — not awarded — later in the game.

Atletico, coming off its first league loss since the third round, played a man down from the 80th minute after midfielder Thomas Partey was sent off for a second yellow card.

The rivals drew their last four league matchups, and Real’s last win against Atletico was nearly two years ago.

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