BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Eden Hazard’s inspired return from an injury layoff couldn’t keep Real Madrid from stumbling to a 2-2 draw at home with Celta Vigo on Sunday, reducing its lead in the Spanish league to a single point.
Hazard, who started the game and earned a penalty, hadn’t played since injuring his right ankle on Nov. 26 against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. He had been practicing with the rest of the team for the last two weeks but had yet to be included in the squad.
The draw left Madrid one point ahead of Barcelona at the top of the Spanish league.
Hazard earned a penalty that was converted by Sergio Ramos to put Madrid in front in the 65th minute.
But Celta snatched the draw when Santi Mina fired in the 86th-minute equalizer after fellow substitute Denis Suárez set him up with a superb through ball that threaded past several Madrid players.
Fedor Smolov had put the visitors ahead in the seventh minute. Madrid’s Toni Kroos made it 1-1 in the 52nd.
“I am happy with my performance but not with the result,” Hazard said. “But they have good players and did not come here (just) to defend. But it is not the last game of the season and at the end we just want to win trophies. We are in first place and just have to keep going.”
Hazard was Madrid’s most incisive player until he was substituted in the 73rd.
In the first half he created Madrid’s best chance when he dribbled into the box before Jeison Murillo intervened.
Hazard’s agility then proved key again when he drew a penalty from goalkeeper Ruben Blanco, who unwisely slid toward a ball that was heading out and ended up tripping Hazard. That penalty put Madrid on course for a win until Suárez linked up with Mina.