Celta Viga 1 – 4 Real Madrid (Aspas; Benzema, Modric, Vinicius, Valverde). Here’s our immediate response to the final whistle. To come: Player ratings, post-game podcast, quotes from Carlo Ancelotti, 3 questions and answers, breakdown of stats and more.
Real Madrid have made a strong start in La Liga in the 2022-2023 season. After taking three points in Almeria on Matchday One, tonight they went to Balaidos – a notoriously difficult place to play – and won convincingly as they got great results from key players all over the field.
Luka Modric has turned the clock back (is it still a clock? Is it just permanent on a linear continuum where time is irrelevant? Is he even a different age than 2015?); Aurelien Tchouameni – with all eyes on him – made a masterful shift in the anchor role; Eduardo Camavinga was a solid two-way presence; and Vinicius Jr, supremely confident from his first touch to his last, tore Celta Vigo apart.
It was a bit hesitant to start, just like with Real Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti did try to implement a high press, but there were some issues with its consistency that Celta took advantage of more than once. Both Fede Valverde and Dani Carvajal were shaky with the ball and gave the ball away from the back line, which in turn led to some nervous runs.
Real Madrid got some breathing room in the 14th minute, when Renato Tapia’s handball led to a penalty from Karim Benzema. Converted, obviously.
Nine minutes later, Eder Militao’s handball in the penalty area gave Iago Aspas the equalizer from the penalty spot.
From there, Celta threatened little, and the game turned on its head when Luka transcended Modric:
Real Madrid went into halftime with a 2-1 lead and note that they had got really good performances from two players in particular: 1) Vinicius Jr (plays the whole game with swag, efficient with his touches and works extremely hard defensively ) ; and 2) Aurelien Tchouameni (Defensively well read, good coverage all around and solid offensive contributions as the ball progresses nicely next to Camavinga). Vinicius’ task was difficult, especially as he didn’t get much help on the left wing while Celta had several defenders in his path – a familiar face, for sure.
Nine minutes after the break, Luka Modric and Vinicius Jr combined for this madness:
(Don’t ask what Celta was doing defensively. I don’t care.)
10 minutes later, Real Madrid extend their lead to 1-4, after Tchouameni goes into beast mode and the ball ends up in front of Fede Valverde’s feet:
Beware of the Real Madrid counter!
Tchouaméni wins the ball well and in an instant Valverde is clinically ready pic.twitter.com/lXEUaaJ1FM
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) August 20, 2022
This could have been a bigger lead. As the game progressed, the game opened up more and more and Real Madrid’s transition opportunities increased. Of interest: Substitute Antonio Rudiger had a ridiculous ball progression series, which led to another penalty, which Benzema delegated to Eden Hazard. The Belgian missed the dot.
We’ll break down this game in much more detail over the next few hours. The post-game podcast will be out later tonight and there will be a lot of written content on the website.
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