Real Madrid slip up as late Celta equaliser claims Bernabéu point
Real Madrid 2-2 Celta Vigo
Thank you for joining me tonight for our coverage of the game from the Santiago Bernabéu. We'll be back soon with more live action...
Real Madrid drop two points at home but move one point clear of their rivals Barcelona at the top of the table with El Clásico looming.
Most of the pressure throughout the game was on the Celta defence but they maintained a threat on the break and the quality of both passes for their goals was worth them leaving here with a very valuable point in their search for survival.
Peep, peep, peeeeeeep!! The game ends in a draw.
One last chance for Madrid, Marcelo on the edge of the area shoots and it's blocked. That should be that...
Someone on the Celta bench saw red after making his complaints known. There may be no time for more action.
Denis Suárez finds himself in the Madrid area and doesn't know what to do. Madrid burst away from his lapse in concentration and the move ends with Vinicius almost nicking a shot away. Blanco beats him to the loose ball.
Penalty shout from the desperate Madrid players as Ramos goes over in a follow-up to a Benzema strike saved well by Blanco. Ref gives animated arm-opening gesture to signify 'play on'.
We'll have 5 minutes added on (could have been more considering subs and injury treatment time)
Cross into the Celta area is met by the now number 9 Sergio Ramos who tries a backheel volley. Cleared
Chance!! Benzema fed in by Carvajal and almost makes it count.
The ball from Denis Suárez cut through a busy Madrid area and Mina was onto it like a flash. Great goal, although Carvajal will be disappointed with his covering.
Celta sub | Santi Mina on for Bradaric
Madrid sub | Mendy on for Bale
Marcelo has a great chance to set Vinicius scampering free down the left wing but mishits the pass. He's as frustrated with that as the crowd. Bale then does well on the other flank to track back and support Carvajal in defence. Madrid trying to manage this game out.
Kroos makes way for Luka Modric.
Space opens up for the recently-introduced Brazilian but he chooses to hold it up and play back, keeping possession. He's looked lively.
Some very tidy play from Celta stretches the Madrid backline across the pitch. Marcelo then deals with a cross and Vinicius gets a chance to skip free.
First run down the wing for Vinicius, but the defender wins this one. How much will the young Brazilian want to make his 20 mins count.
Another card, this time for Celta's Yokuslu as we lose any real rhythm to the game.
Carvajal into the book. Rafinha will need some ice tonight.
That's it for Hazard. He's replaced by Vinicius whose playing time is directly linked to the Belgian and his compatriot
Ouchie!! Bale throws himself into the back of Rafinha and is rightly booked. Could have been red!
Denis Suarez enters the play for Celta, Smolov trotts off
There's been an extra bounce in the Real Madrid player's steps since the break and they'll now want to go on and make this result convincing. Celta, though, know they need to push on and have players to cause problems. A corner won for the Galicians...
PENALTY!! Blanco pulls down Hazard.
Hazard goes on a mazy run down the right channel but is held up well and prevented from pulling the trigger. He turns back and lays off to Valverde whose shot deflects and fals for the grateful Blanco in goal.
Madrid work the ball out to Carvajal on the right and his first time ball swung in behind the defence is tempting. Benzema was in wait but Blanco reads it and intercepts.
Olaza booked for an earlier challenge on Bale, which the ref had let run on as Madrid maintained possession.
A few players trying to outdo each other on their shoulder strength, as this game hints at getting a bit tasty.
First change of the day sees Pione Sisto replace the injured Kevin
Nice move from Celta sees Aspas into space down the right, held up by Varane before attempting, along with Rafinha to get the ball to another free player. Great blocking from covering defenders kills the danger.
After a minute of so of treatment the free-kick is taken. Eventually the ball is worked to the left and the ball in is volleyed home by Sergio Ramos. OFFSIDE called after check with VAR. Correct call.
Los Blancos out and immediately on the front foot. A second wave sees goalscorer Smolov foul but it is the Russian that comes off worse. Free-kick to Madrid.
Will Zidane make any changes in formation or personnel? We'll soon find out as the teams head back out for the second half.
Well, that wasn't the way that many had this first 45 minutes going. Yes, Madrid were the dominant side, had the vast majority of the ball, but were unable to take any of the chances that they created. Unlike a certain Russian for the visitors.
We are hearing that there may have been some technical problems with some people receiving the live feed during the latter part of that half. Apologies if you were affected and I hope you're back with us.
The half-time whistle blows
The half-time whistle blows
The resultant corner from Bradaric is well handled by Courtois.
SAVE! Aidoo wins the header from the corner, goes low, looks like a goal until Courtois flies to his left and palms away. Great header, great stop.
Two crosses into the danger zone from Kroos, the second from a corner, are dealt with well by the Celta defence once again. More inventiveness required from Los Blancos.
Bale hits an effort just over the bar after picking up a Hazard pass.
Benzema and Marcelo both threaten but again the final ball or shot is lacking accuracy.
Bale tries his luck from a good 30-35 yards out. He catches it well but it is safely wide of the right upright.
Hazard shows his pace as he bursts onto a loose ball inside the opposition area. Instead of the obvious ball across goal, he cuts it back sharply to Marcelo in space. His first time hit is miscued and Blanco collects.
Madrid build, and build, generally around the outside of the Celta penalty area, with short, direct balls into feet inside the box when made available. Blanco untroubled.
I've just watched a couple of minutes of disjointed play but then Celta move quickly through the gears and almost fashion an opportunity, which is blocked out of play by Ramos.
A couple of corners for Madrid are lofted in by Kroos but cleared with relative ease. Celta then hit on a tidy break and the final ball into the area from Rafinha is not read by either supporting teammate and runs away to safety. The threat remains.
So far, both Bale and Hazard are ensuring that their starting position involves getting chalk on their boots. They are both also very happy to play the easy ball to a teammate rather than go at the defenders. This will change...
Wasted chance from a cross into a busy penalty area there as Sergio Ramos gets a bit pushy. Another breather for Celta.
20 minutes gone and the home side have had just over 70% possession. It feels like more!
Benzema drifts off his marker at the back post to meet a Bale cross, but his control on the knees lets him down and the ball trundles out of play for a goal kick.
Ping! Bale lays off to Casemiro at the edge of the Celta area and the newly-crowned Terminator lets fly. Just over.
Chance! Ruben Blanco does well to dive out and catch a dangerous cross from Marcelo, which otherwise would've been tapped home by the lurking Benzema. The Brazilian looks to be hurt after that cross under pressure.
Pressure relieved, for a moment, as Valverde commits a foul in the middle of the pitch. It doesn't take long for a white shirt to get back on the ball, though.
Casemiro has a headed chance, then Carvajal crosses... both come to nothing but that Celta defenece can expect a lot of pressure coming their way.
Immediately Madrid look to make amends for that lapse. Marcelo gets well forward and swings a ball into the far post but it evades everyone and bounces out of play.
Bale gets hold of the ball on the right and just as he looks to make something happen decides to pull back and plays the pass to a teammate behind him.
The free-kick from deep is a good one, hit at pace inswinging towards Courtois' goal. It's one of those that just needs a flick to help it on its way, but it's slightly ahead of the runners and the big Belgian with gloves on collects.
Aspas is the first Celta player to get a foot on the ball as he breaks down the right. As he steps inside he's fouled and the visitors have a chance to threaten the home goal.
Early possession for the home side allows those in the all white shirts to get plenty of touches in. Hazard's first intervention comes with that trademark skip inside his marker but his one-two hope is not met and the build-up begins again...
Javier Alberola Rojas blows his whistle and we're off...
The captains shake hands, the ref tosses a coin, and it's almost time to go.
Right, we're just five minutes from kick-off. The players are in the tunnel and the Real Madrid anthem is blasted from the loud speakers
"Madrid, Madrid, Hala Madrid...and nothing more," they sing in Spanish
Bale was, his agent confirmed, on the verge of a move to China last summer. The feeling around the club right now is that he will likely be the topic of transfer talk once again as the transfer window approaches.
The Welshman may love life in Madrid - and I can fully understand that, myself - so if he can turn in some consistent performances from now until the end of the season, he may not have to think about any diffilcult decisions. The local golf club owners have their fingers crossed!
I've so far not made much of Gareth Bale's starting postion, and maybe that's wise. He's a player that splits opinion - not necessarily 50/50 - and his agent raised some interesting points about his training limitations in a recent interview with us.
...Zidane did refute the five-day claim when asked about it.
...but you never know... (although I should point out that this cracking goal still didn't bring the visitors three points!
The problem that faces Celta is, at least, three-fold.
1. Real Madrid are unbeaten at home in LaLiga since October
2. Several players are on form: Courtois, Valverde, Casemiro, Benzema...
3. Eden Hazard!
While the hosts sit atop the pile, the side from Vigo currently occupy the final relegations slot, a point behind Mallorca, who have played a game more.
Celta come into this game on the back of an impressive 2-1 victory over Sevilla, with Pione Sisto getting the winner in added-on time. As usual, Galician fans will be looking to former Liverpool striker Iago Aspas to quieten the Bernabéu.
...Zizou does have his Casemiro-Valverde safety harnesses in place, for a Celta side with a point to prove.
Zidane's focus will not be on getting his Belgian star up to full speed in time for the huge clashes that lie ahead, namely, Manchester City in the Champions League and Barcelona.
Well, the big news, as we hinted at earlier, is that Eden Hazard is a starter. There had been talk of him featuring last Sunday in Pamplona so he was clearly close, hence there shouldn't be too much risk getting him off from the whistle.
Real Madrid XI
Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos, Bale, Benzema, Hazard
The team news is out. Let's look at how the home team lines up first...
The biggest question on many lips this evening is when Eden Hazard is likely to make his return. Most people have suggested that he'll be eased into the game, possibly replacing Vinicius in the second half. We have had some word, however, that it may be a lot, lot, earlier than that...
Team news should be through shortly.
The Santiago Bernabéu crowd will expect nothing less than all three points tonight but there is also an anticipation that the performance will impress and excite. After Barça's tight win yesterday, Los Blancos' lead at the top is only on goal difference.
Hola and a very warm welcome to the Spanish capital where Real Madrid host Celta Vigo in our live LaLiga game today. Stay with us for the next couple of hours and follow all the actionl...