A faltering invincibility
That Jovetic goal did a lot of damage to Madrid. They lost the momentum of the unbeaten run and the enthusiasm and confidence that came with it quickly evaporated. The boxing legends called it 'learning to fall'. A boxer wins bout after bout, he feels invincible and then suddenly takes a hit, falls and loses by K.O. From that day on, every blow hurts more, his legs are weaker on approach, and he now goes down with relative ease. He has learned how to fall. Madrid had that look about them yesterday, so different from that which we saw recently, when they celebrated the 3-3 cup drama in Seville as if it were a title, because it prolonged the record.
Aspas on fire, fueled from the left
And on top of that was Celta, Berizzo's well-constructed team, who held back, closed the channels and looked for breaks, generally on the left with Bongonda, who was a real danger. During the first half, Madrid still moved well and played their game. But it the second half less so and Celta grew in confidence. They moved forward, another Bongonda escape that caught out the Madrid defence; Marcelo tried ot clear the danger but the ball fell to Iago Aspas, who finished. It was his thirteenth goal in his last thirteen games. Madrid reacted, went back on the attack and didn't take long to level through Marcelo. But...
No answer from Madrid
There was not even a minute between Marcelo's goal and the 1-2 scoreline written by Jonny Castro. It was practically from the restart. A poor goal, Bilardo would say afterwards. But worse for Madrid was what followed. They had no game, nor energy, to trouble the Celta area in one of those finales that have been so satisfying for the fans. Morata and Benzema, who came on during the game, did not contribute anything. Cristiano is still searching for the key to playing his new position. No goal was forthcoming and there was only really one clear chance, one which Benzema failed spectacularly. In short, a second defeat in four days, after nine long months without one. And what a tremendous return match ahead.