As soon as the game had ended, the television cameras panned to John Guidetti, who screamed into the lens: “What a stadium, how beautiful Vigo is, I love living here…!” In those few words the Swede condensed the joy of an entire city and a stadium that on Wednesday night experienced a football fiesta. A cup fiesta and a northern Spanish football fiesta, complete with rain and intensity on the pitch. Celta had knocked Madrid out of the cup after a tough match that proved once again how difficult a side to beat they are. Celta’s joyful songs were cut short when the visitors made it 2-2 to place themselves one goal from their objective with four minutes left. But they did not manage it.
On this occasion Zinedine Zidane’s side are beyond reproach. They went down swinging. Madrid set out with resolve, they bossed possession and in doing so nullified a Celta side who appeared unsure themselves in every area of the pitch. Real were in total control for 35 minutes but failed to create much danger in front of goal. Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio contributed little. Cristiano Ronaldo, although diminished in comparison to what he was, remains the most active threat in the team. He was close to scoring with a double effort that struck post and crossbar. Celta though perked up just before the break, assuming the driving seat and bagging the goal, which was turned in by the hapless Danilo.
Looking on the bright side, Madrid still only required two goals to take the game to extra time. And with that in mind they came out strongly in the second half, pressing Celta and forcing the home side to defend desperately and commit several fouls, one of which handed Ronaldo a free-kick that he duly buried. Real continued to press and it seemed as though they could turn the tie around until Celta broke with a wonderful move, the elegance of which was a throwback to a previous age: measured, pinpoint passes and the ball passed into the net. Madrid remained in the game to make it 2-2 and cause the final moments of anguish for the home fans, but they fell just short leaving Vigo to celebrate passage to the semi-finals, from where they could embark on a glorious story.