Real Madrid 2-0 Celta Vigo: result, summary and goals
Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo: as it happened
Real Madrid 2-0 Celta Vigo: on the whistle report
Real Madrid beat an in-form Celta Vigo 2-0 at home on Saturday thanks to a goal and assist apiece from Spanish pair Lucas Vázquez and Marco Asensio, putting the side above city rivals Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.
The win took the Spanish champions to the summit on 36 points, one ahead of second-placed Atletico who have three games in hand and on Sunday visit Alaves.
Real were smarting from a surprise 1-1 draw at struggling Elche in their last match but got off to an ideal start thanks to a towering header from Vázquez, who out-jumped two Celta defenders to power home a cross from Asensio.
Vázquez returned the favour early in the second half to tee up Asensio after Madrid had recovered the ball high in Celta's half. Zinedine Zidane's side comfortably saw out the victory, ending Celta's unbeaten run of six games under new coach Eduardo Coudet. (Richard Martin reporting)
Real Madrid go top
Lucas Vázquez scored the opener early in the first half heading home a lovely cross from Marco Asensio, and then the Spaniards swapped roles for the second early in the second.
A job well done for the hosts and they go top of LaLiga by a point, although Atlético have three games in hand.
Peep, peep, peeeep!!! It's all over!
BLOCKED!! How did Celta not score there?
The chance fell to Baeza in front of goal but Nacho slid in to get in the way.
Benzema will not be adding to his tally tonight. Mariano gets a couple of minutes.
Three added minutes
CLOSE! Hazard and Odegaard combine before Benzema takes over.
The striker steps inside two defenders before unleashing an unconvincing effort, which flies high over the bar.
This game is just petering out but that doesn't stop Casemiro from picking up a booking.
Triple change for Zidane:
OFF - Carvajal, Kroos, Modric
ON - Vini, Odegaard, Valverde
Carvajal rightly booked for a late challenge.
A period of controlled possession here by Celta. It's accurate to say that Madrid are happy to sit back and let them have it. Job almost done.
Hazard throws in a neat back-heel flick to a fluid Madrid move but as it's then lost Celta break at speed. Had Suárez's first-time volleyed pass been better, Courtois may have been forced into action.
It wasn't easy to be fair.
Break away from Lucas looks has Celta backtracking and in trouble. From the options available he picks the closest, Benzema, but the Frenchman is closed down quickly and can't dance his way out of it.
The final 15 could see more chances on the counter open up as the visitors chase a goal.
Hazard is on! Asensio goes for a well-deserved rest. The Spaniard is slowly finding his best form again, and just needs to avoid any more injuries.
No! It's well covered and then cleared by the defence, freeing them to move forward in space.
The move doesn't come to anything but does allow Asensio to do an enjoyable one-two with himself as he passes the ball away. That may be his last involvement.
A cross from Mallo deep on the right is well short of his teammate, but a corner is conceded.
Is this a chance for Celta to worry Courtois' goal?
Celta are trying to work an opening but are struggling to get past a very assured and compact white back line. Nacho, in particular, has snuffed out a couple of recent half-threats.
It's a good point from Phil, as Celta just can't make anything happen in the final third.
Miguel Baeza Perez on for Nolito.
CLOSE! Benzema is the last element of some lovely passing and moving from Madrid, Kroos sliding a pass into his run. The finish is just wide from the Frenchman.
A mistake by Carvajal on the right is pounced upon by Nolito, but the full-back flies back to make up for it and does so perfectly.
That almost depicts this game.
Casemiro on the deck holding his face but the foul goes against him from wrestling his opponent to the ground.
Madrid now just knocking the ball around the middle of the park when they have it, and not giving their guests much time to build any confidence when they don't.
I've been watching football long enough now to know that the momentum of a game can quickly change and you never say it's over, especially this early.
But...with Aspas off, and a real lack of impetus from the visitors, it really feel like the three points are in the bag for Los Blancos.
After a check of his status, Aspas is needing to head off following that challenge from Nacho.
Beltran takes his place but that is gutting from the visitor's point of view.
Nacho makes sure that Aspas is not breaking away on the touchline. He gets a yellow card for challenge...and maybe more.
Mina and Nolito get away on what looks like a promising break but indecision kills any danger that was looming.
Both teams try to get on the ball and it's Asensio who makes the first meaningful contribution. On the left, where he's been stuck faithfully so far, he jinks past the covering defenders and fires in a cross.
Lucas can't take it under control and the chance is gone.
Right, the players are heading back out. I can't see any changes of personnel. Let's get ready...
Off the pitch, but an important factor to what happens on it, Paul has shared the latest TV income figures for the league.
Madrid certainly look on course to add to this H2H advantage. But there's a long way to go yet.
Madrid certainly look on course to add to this H2H advantage. But there's a long way to go yet.
We've not had a whole lotta chances in that first half and, if I'm being very honest, Celta have offered much less than expected as an attacking force.
Aspas showed his great control with his side's only real opportunity thus far, but was unable to finish the move as it deserved. No doubt it was a double blow to be a goal down within a minute of that.
Madrid have looked more lively and are worthy of their single-goal advantage. Zidane will likely ask for more of the same, with players all across the pitch putting in a shift to cover when possession is lost, but he'll also expect Coudet to mix things up.
Peep! Whistle blows and everyone head in for some refreshment and carefully chosen words from the managers.
Courtois clattered as he comes out to punch a long ball into his penalty box. Looks like the ref is going to let both parties in that collision recover in the changing room.
CLOSE! The free-kick from that last foul is played into a crowded area, and after a couple of headers it the ball drops from high at the edge.
Dani Carvajal takes it first time with a composed instep volley, and Blanco is happy to see it fly past the outer side of the post.
Tapia had a naughty foul earlier and this latest one was very late on an escaping Modric. Could have been a very sore one but thankfully for the Croatian he seems to be ok.
Second booking of the game.
Ouchie! Asensio is normally associated with delightful touches and powerful drives, not blatent hacks against opponents.
Aspas has just felt the Mallorcan's wider array of skills, on his shin.
Benzema escapes his marker as he pulls out slightly into the left channel. He scuffs his left foot effort and Blanco watches it truddle wide.
Celebrations after goal
Asensio out wide again and whipping in a cross. Benzema and Vázquez waiting in the middle but it's way, way over both of them.
Throw in to Celta. Surprisingly poor from the winger.
Celta definitely coming more and more into this game in the last 10 minutes after shaking off their early disappointment.
Another corner for the visitors, this time after a cross from the right is deflected unintentionally off Varane's leg, almost catching out Courtois but rolling just wide.
That could have been embarrassing.
Celta have won a corner in a rare push forward with intent.
The ball is swung in to the busy penalty area and claims go up for a corner after the ball struck Mendy's arm. The referee tries not to laugh as he explains that that cannot be a penalty kick.
The hosts choose to keep the ball in the middle of the park, something they've done pretty well, especially given the rather 'robust' attention they have been afforded from their opposite numbers.
Crunch! Benzema felt that from Tapia. Clumsy more than intentional, I'd say, and hands Madrid a chance to play the dead ball into the area.
Since that Aspas chance immediately preceding the goal, this has been a relative stroll for Madrid.
They're still having to work hard to make it so but are well in control at the moment.
Nacho finds himself well up the pitch. He's in a good position to cross but chooses instead to roll the ball a few yards to Asensio. "You're better at this type of thing," he appeared to suggest.
Vázquez sprints away down the right touchline with the ball and instead of the more obvious cross to Benzema, cuts a low cross to Modric at the edge of the Celta area.
A first time effort may have been more advisable but he takes a touch before seeing his strike blocked by the now much closer defender. Varane then hands away possession.
Mina has a great chance to roll the ball into the path of Aspas but puts far too much on the pass and the slight whiff of danger is gone.
Long diagonal from Carvajal tries to free Benzema but it seems to hold up in the wind. Madrid manage to keep the play going, however, and some neat passing ends with a slightly overhit Asensio cross.
In stopping Asensio, Mendez finds himself in the ref's notebook. We can be sure the twinkle-toes of the islander will be visiting him again soon enough.
Nothing comes of the set-piece and Asensio looks to create again, aiming to shake off two covering players, who were quick to spot the danger.
That was exactly what our Galician visitors did not want (especially if you were reading the stats in our build-up).
But they're quickly back into their stride and Aspas wins a corner.
CHANCE! First attempt falls to Aspas.
Beating the offside trap he controls the lofted ball delightfully and then tries to lob the oncoming Courtois. Weak effort and it's cleared away. Warning.
It's tidy enough play from both sides in these opening minutes but possession is being hurried high in either half. This is making it hard for any meaningful space to be found.
Good pressure from Celta forces the hosts back into their own half and all the way back to Courtois. More defensive build up is then lost and the visitors get a chance to play a little.
Madrid immediately on the ball and switch it back and forth across the pitch, almost all players getting an early touch.
We are off!
The teams are out on the pitch and captains for tonight, Karim Benzema and Ruben Blanco, go through the usual chit chat with the ref, Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea.
Line-ups: Celta Vigo
Emre Mor one of those not making this trip. Here is a reminder of those taking to the field for the visitors
- 13 Rubén Blanco
- 2 Hugo Mallo
- 4 Néstor Araújo
- 24 Murillo
- 15 Olaza
- 6 Denis Suárez
- 23 Brais
- 9 Nolito
- 14 Renato Tapia
- 10 Aspas
- 22 Santi Mina
Line-ups: Real Madrid
A reminder that Sergio Ramos is not available. We hear it is stomach troubles keeping him out and not a fear of Aspas running at him!
- 1 Courtois
- 5 Varane
- 23 Ferland Mendy
- 2 Carvajal
- 6 Nacho
- 8 Kroos
- 10 Modric
- 14 Casemiro
- 17 Lucas Vázquez
- 9 Benzema
- 11 Marco Asensio
The Celta lads getting as many touches in as possible out on the Di Stefano turf. Not long to go till the action gets underway...
Scoring first Celta
The Galician side have shown that getting ahead first on their travels tends to bode well for them.
It's actually been three years since they won an away game after conceding the opening goal.
Once again I should point to the fact that looking too far back at trends for the visitors may be rather futile. This appears to be a much more capable side than that of just a few months ago. Look at the manager's records:
Garcia: played 9, won 1 (6 goals scored)
Coudet: played 7, won 5 (16 goals scored)
'The goal duel'
Arguably the most discussed narrative surrounding tonight's game has been that of the two main strikers.
As Semra points out, our front page today led with this story, as we'll see LaLiga's top two scorers try to outdo each other.
The visitors tonight are all too familiar with this German in midfield... although it was a few years ago.
A couple of surprises from Zidane there. I was certainly expecting to see the energy of Valverde being deployed from the start.
It certainly leaves the Frenchman some interesting options off the bench: along with 'el pajarito' there's the likes of Hazard, Isco, Vini, Odegaard.
Celta Vigo XI: Rubén Blanco; Hugo Mallo, Araujo, Murillo, Olaza; Tapia; Denis Suárez, Brais Méndes; Nolito, Santi Mina, Iago Aspas.
Real Madrid XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Lucas Vázquez, Asensio, Benzema
Pushing for Europe
A place in European competition next season is possibly beyond the realistic expectations of Coudet and co, but who knows given their recent run.
The visitors start the New Year in the top half of the table after picking up five wins in their last six league games. The other game ended all square.
And their new manager, Eduardo Coudet, will certainly be focused on this current streak than the team's historic performances against Los Blancos. Celta's record against Madrid reads: W29, D17, L62 and in recent seasons the goal difference has been noticeable.
Chance to go top*
*briefly, and with three games more played
Madrid may only lie two points adrift of Leti in second-place but having played two more, this could quickly turn into eight. And that is not as easy to recover as we get close to the half-way point in the season.
A 1-1 draw against Elche the day before the bells may have been a welcome reminder that there are no gimmies in this league. It came after an impressive run of five straight league wins, three of which saw them leave with a two-goal advantage.
Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo: welcome!
A very warm welcome to you on a rather chilly evening in the Spanish capital as we begin our build-up to Real Madrid’s clash with Celta Vigo.
Zinedine Zidane and his troops know what all Los Blancos fans do: right now there is almost no margin for error.
With neighbours Atlético getting noisier by the week as they peer down below them at LaLiga's chasing pack, Madrid have to ensure that they head home tonight with three points in the bag. But facing them is an in-form Galician team, with a striker on a hot streak leading the way.
Stay with us as we bring you all the team news and other stories doing the rounds, before we begin our minute-by-minute coverage of the game live.