Real Madrid move top of LaLiga after scare

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Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema have fired Real Madrid to a 2-1 win at home to Rayo Vallecano to go top of LaLiga although Carlo Ancelotti's side had to face down a late onslaught from their neighbours following Radamel Falcao's second-half strike.

Real had drawn their last two league games at the Santiago Bernabeu 0-0 but got off to a strong start when Kroos drilled a shot into the top corner in the 14th minute after Marco Asensio had cut into the area from the right wing.

Their top scorer Benzema doubled their lead in the 38th minute by knocking in a defence-splitting pass from defender David Alaba.

Real looked to be cruising their way to victory until Falcao came off the bench in the second half and soon scored a header, with the help of a deflection off Alaba, to put Rayo back in contention in the 76th minute.

It was the 35-year-old's fifth goal of the season since joining Rayo from Galatasaray in September and the Colombian is enjoying an unexpected renaissance with the Madrid minnows, including scoring the winning goal against Barcelona last month.

The goal awakened the visitors and struck fear into the hosts as Rayo had two late chances to grab an equaliser, Kroos clearing the ball off the line following a goalmouth scramble and keeper Thibaut Courtois tipping an Unai Lopez attempt over the bar.

The win took Real to 27 points after 12 games, two above second-placed Real Sociedad who have also played 12 but can return to the summit if they beat Osasuna on Sunday. Rayo are sixth on 20 points.

Ancelotti felt his side were worthy of the win.

"It's not fair to say we almost drew the game, I saw a team that could have scored five or six goals. We fully deserved the three points," he said.

"It's logical that you get a bit nervous when you concede a goal with 10 minutes to go but overall we played well and I'm happy."

Barcelona threw away a three-goal lead to underline the issues faced by new coach Xavi as Iago Aspas' last-gasp strike secured a 3-3 draw for Celta Vigo.

Blaugrana legend Xavi was named as the new coach earlier on Saturday, but interim boss Sergi Barjuan remained in charge for the trip to Balaidos and Barca appeared to be cruising to victory after first-half goals from Ansu Fati, Sergio Busquets and Memphis Depay.

Yet an injury to Fati on the cusp of half-time dented the visitors' confidence, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen's error gifted Aspas a goal to spur Celta on.

Nolito headed home in the 74th minute to set up a grandstand finale and just as it seemed Barca had survived the onslaught, Aspas curled in with the last kick of the game.

Barca were not helped by injuries, but the way they capitulated will be of great concern to Xavi. The Blaugrana are now without a win in four league matches, sitting ninth, 10 points adrift of leaders Real Madrid.

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