Football: Gareth Bale double helps unbeaten La Liga leaders Real see off Leganes 3-0

BARCELONA (Reuters) - A first-half double from Gareth Bale helped Real Madrid cement their position at the top of La Liga with a 3-0 win at home to Leganes on Sunday.

Reeling from a chaotic midweek 3-3 draw at Legia Warsaw in the Champions League, Real got off to a slow start against neighbours Leganes, but Bale put them in charge in the 37th minute.

The Wales international, who netted a sensational half volley against Legia, raced onto a through ball from Isco that split the visiting defence and rounded goalkeeper Jon Serantes to tuck the ball inside the near post from a tight angle.

Bale then cashed in on poor defending from a free kick to hit the second on the stroke of half-time, just beating Serantes to the loose ball from close range.

Real's Spain striker Alvaro Morata, standing in for the injured Karim Benzema, rounded off the win in the 76th minute.

Real talisman Cristiano Ronaldo had a quiet game and frequently strayed offside, but nearly set up a third for Bale, who was denied by Serantes, who leapt to his left to claw away the Welshman's header.

Midfield maestro Luka Modric received a rapturous reception from the Bernabeu crowd when he came on in the second half to mark his return from injury after more than a month out.

Morata further delighted supporters by latching onto a Toni Kroos pass to score the third, moving ahead of Bale and Ronaldo as Real's top scorer this season on eight goals in all competitions.

Real remain unbeaten in all competitions and also kept a first clean sheet in 11 games.

"We keep picking up points and today we did it while playing well, even if at the start we gave the ball away a lot. When we found the first goal the game changed," said Zidane.

"We bossed the second half and I'm happy with our performance and to have kept a clean sheet. We're not going to win the title with 100 points, because it's becoming much harder to win games in this league."

Real top the standings on 27 points, five clear of champions Barcelona, who visit fourth-placed Sevilla later on Sunday.