BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo ensured there was no letdown for Real Madrid after its win over Manchester United by scoring twice in a 2-1 victory at Celta Vigo on Sunday, lifting the team into second place in the Spanish league.
Madrid slipped one point ahead of Atletico Madrid in the standings after high-flying Real Sociedad ruined Atletico's perfect home record this season after 13 league games with a 1-0 win thanks to forward Xabi Prieto's second-half goal.
Except for Celta's initial and last-gasp surges, Madrid had the better of the scoring chances at Balaidos Stadium despite manager Jose Mourinho making several changes to his starting team following a week featuring wins over Barcelona and United.
Ronaldo was well positioned to score from a loose ball in the 61st minute. Striker Iago Aspas leveled against the run of play two minutes later, but the Portugal forward converted a spot kick earned by Kaka in the 72nd for the winner.
Celta substitute Park Chu-Young almost grabbed the draw when his header hit the bar one minute from time, but Madrid hung on for its sixth straight victory in all competitions.
Ronaldo has 26 league goals this season, second only to Barcelona forward Lionel Messi with 40.
Madrid trails Barcelona by 13 points and has written off its title defense.
"We have to aspire to second place," said Madrid defender Raul Albiol. "The league title is far away, but we have the Champions League and Copa del Rey. We have to focus on those competitions without forgetting the league, which is the day to day."
Elsewhere, Athletic Bilbao forward Iker Muniain scored his first goal in the league this season to give the Basque side a 1-0 win at home over Valencia, while Levante was held to a 0-0 draw at home by Getafe.
Besides tarnishing Atletico's sterling home record, Sociedad also spoiled the team's impressive run of eight consecutive league matches without conceding a goal, dating back to Oct. 28.
Sociedad soaked up Atletico's pressure and struck on the break when Prieto ran onto Antoine Griezmann's pass and rifled the ball between the legs of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the 53rd.
No team had taken away points from Vicente Calderon Stadium since Sociedad did so 10 months ago last season.