Real Madrid’s fans happiness at winning the Copa in the basketball faded rapidly soon after at the Bernabéu, where they unexpectedly dropped two points to Celta Vigo. From his starting XI it was clear Zidane thought the game would be an easy one, and he was obviously more focused on the Manchester City match in the Champions League. Hazard started, as did Bale, who the French coach is persisting with as he believes he’s a top player who can make the difference on big European nights and wants him to be part of the set-up. That meant putting out a 4-3-3, his bolder strategy. It also meant Marcelo started. The Brazilian is far stronger going forward than he is defending. Overall, then, an optimistic line-up.
Celta struck first at the Bernabéu
But Celta didn’t fancy their role as sacrificial lambs and went ahead early on, with a marvellous ball from Iago Aspas to Smolov, who finished well. A fine goal, taking advantage of a lapse in the Madrid defence. From then on, Aspas got stuck in in the midfield, Celta went to 5-4-1 and waited. Madrid ran the show, but struggled to penetrate. Hazard and Marcelo linked up well on their side of the pitch, with Benzema up ahead, but they lacked the necessary final finesse. On the other side Bale lounged around, hitting the occasional cross or long-range effort. Coming up to the break, Courtois prevented Celta going two up with a fine save from Aidoo’s decent header.
Real Madrid suffering from premature confidence
After half-time, Madrid came out with a little more verve and vigour, and soon turned the scoreline around, first with a goal from Kroos, after Benzema and Marcelo had linked up, and then through a penalty Rubén gifted to Hazard. Sergio Ramos converted - he’s scored 19 in a row now. Hazard and Bale went off (the Welshman’s only notable intervention a foul from behind on Rafinha he should have been sent off for) and Madrid, suffering from premature confidence, ended up attacking with Vinicius on the right, where he’s not the same player and Marcelo on the left. And Celta struck, thanks to a sumptuous pass from Denis Suárez to Santi Mina. 2-2. After that, 10 minutes of pointless effort from Madrid until the ref brought proceedings to a close.