Celta Vigo 2 – 2 Real Madrid – Quick take reaction to Madrid’s drab draw

VIGO, SPAIN - JANUARY 07: Gareth Bale of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his second goal during the La Liga match between Celta de Vigo and Real Madrid at Estadio de Balaidos on January 7, 2018 in Vigo, Spain. (Photo by fotopress/Getty Images)
VIGO, SPAIN - JANUARY 07: Gareth Bale of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his second goal during the La Liga match between Celta de Vigo and Real Madrid at Estadio de Balaidos on January 7, 2018 in Vigo, Spain. (Photo by fotopress/Getty Images) /

Celta Vigo drew 2-2 with Real Madrid. Despite a few moments of brilliance from Gareth Bale, it was a bad night for Madrid, who let two more points slip.


Just like I thought would happen, in the absence of Karim Benzema, Zidane decided to roll with the BIC – Bale, Isco, and Cristiano up top. Carvajal and Ramos were absent, so Madrid relied on a back line of Achraf, Nacho, Varane, and Marcelo. The typical Madrid midfield trio of Casemiro, Kroos, and Modric filled out the rest of the 11.

First Half

It was a dour first thirty minutes from a Real Madrid perspective. Real Madrid put in a type of performance that has become routine for them this season – controlling possession, but rarely creating decisive attacks, and allowing opponents to pass through the midfield with ease.

There were a few good partnerships developing. Gareth Bale, Marcelo, and Isco formed a dangerous triangle on the left hand side that often tested Celta’s defense, but rarely found its way through. Ronaldo and Achraf combined well on the right, but the final pass was always missing.

And Madrid could do very little to stop Celta from passing their way through the midfield. Celta created a number of dangerous opportunities through Sisto, Aspas, and Wass. Madrid were incredibly lucky to not be down early when Aspas smacked a ball off the post.

Celta looked like they would be the first to score, and such was the case when Ronaldo had the ball stripped off of him in Celta’s half, sparking a counter-through Wass. Wass caught Navas deep out of position, and chipped the ball delicately over his head into the back of the net.

That goal seemed to spark Real Madrid into life. Just minutes later, Toni Kroos placed a perfectly weighted through pass into the feet of Gareth Bale who pushed pass the onrushing keeper and skated the ball on the ground into the back of the net.

Celta were unfortunate to concede twice in quick succession. Bale was the man once again for Real Madrid’s second goal, as Isco dropped a pin-point pass at Bale’s feet, and the Welshman dinked the ball into the back of the net. Just like that, Madrid turned it around and took a 2-1 lead into halftime.

Second Half

Real Madrid began the second half strong, controlling possession and creating dangerous attacks deep in Celta’s area. Madrid were finally doing a better job of containing Celta’s counter-attacks, snuffing most movement forward.

But then, around the 60 minute mark, Celta began to build into the match and began creating some danger in Madrid’s area. Celta once again found an easy time passing into the area, and looked the most likely to score. Casemiro in particular looked a defensive liability, giving the ball away cheaply time and time again.

Sure enough, Celta soon broke through Madrid’s defense, and Keylor Navas found himself as the last man against an onrushing Iago Aspas. Navas dragged Aspas down, and was lucky to just receive a yellow as the ref pointed to the spot. Aspas stepped up to take the penalty, only to be denied by the same man who created the penalty in the first place. Navas produced a great stop on the penalty to keep Madrid level.

Mateo Kovacic and Lucas Vazquez came on for Isco and Luka Modric. Isco in particular looked like he was getting gassed, but Modric was one of Madrid’s best players on the night.

Real Madrid continued to create a few dangerous attacks, like when Vazquez played Ronaldo in on goal, but mostly these shots were just delivered straight to the keeper.

But Los Blancos continued to look permeable, and as often as they would press up the pitch, they would be challenged on the break. Celta has some of the most exciting attacking players in the middle of the Spanish table, and they punished Madrid for their carelessness. Madrid were caught out with Marcelo up the pitch and the Nacho/Varane partnership failed to contain Celta’s attack, with Gomez finding Celta’s equalizer with ten minutes left to play.

Asensio replaced Bale for the last ten minutes of the match as Real Madrid tried to chase a victory. But it was not to be. Real Madrid couldn’t manage to find a third goal, and dropped another two points in the title race. At this pace, do Madrid have to start worrying about defending their Champions League spot?

Next: Kepa arrives in Madrid for a medical ahead of his transfer

Stay tuned to The Real Champs for more coverage of Madrid’s disappointing draw.