MADRID: Dani Ceballos scored twice on his first league start for Spanish champions Real Madrid as they beat struggling Alaves to regain momentum in the Spanish league.

The 21-year-old Spanish midfielder, signed from Betis in the summer, held off two defenders before striking home his first.

Alaves, who came into the goal without a point or a goal this season, equalised through Manu Garcia’s header.  But, three minutes later, Ceballos scored his and Real’s second with a low drive from 16m.

Both sides also went close in the final 20 minutes.  The world, European and Spanish champions were lucky not to concede when Alfonso Pedraza’s deflected shot beat Keylor Navas but came off the bar.  The substitute went close again when his shot struck the keeper’s right-hand upright.

Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos, who had a header disallowed, missed an open goal from eight yards.

Their other clear chances fell to Cristiano Ronaldo.  The Portugal international, yet to score his first goal of the La Liga season, twice fired shots that crept narrowly wide and saw another rebound off Pacheco’s far post.

Coach Zinedine Zidane’s side have had a relatively disappointing start to their domestic campaign, having won only three of their first six games.