Cristiano Ronaldo’s double propelled Real Madrid to beat Celta Vigo 4-1 as Zinedine Zidane’s men inch closer to lifting the La Liga title
Cristiano Ronaldo ensured Real Madrid picked up an effortless victory with two goals. He has now eclipsed the previous record set by former England striker Jimmy Greaves for the most number of goals in Europe’s top five leagues.
After two goals by Ronaldo, John Guidetti gave 10-man Celta some hope as he netted a goal, but then Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos sealed the deal for Los Blancos.
Real will win the La Liga with a draw at mid-table Malaga on Sunday. As far as their rivals Barcelona are concerned, they will need to win their final game at home to Eibar and hope Zinedine Zidane’s side lose.
However, if the teams finish level on points then defending champions Barcelona will claim a third-straight title because of their better head-to-head record.
Ever since Madrid were subjected to a 3-2 loss in a dramatic El Clasico at the Nou Camp in April, this game was touted a crucial one in the Spanish title race.
Ahead of Wednesday’s match, Barcelona had diligently finished every game week top of La Liga after that El Clasico match, but then Zinedine Zidane’s side overhauled them with a positive result against mid-table Celta Vigo.
Unsurprisingly, Real Madrid’s Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was the hero of the night. Not only did he break Jimmy Greaves’ record, he also pushed Real Madrid closer to claiming a La Liga title for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
367 – Cristiano Ronaldo is now the all-time top-scorer in the top five European leagues, surpassing Jimmy Greaves (366). Ace. pic.twitter.com/S33G74anMl
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) May 17, 2017
Ronaldo was tactful, fast and even did a lot of damage to Celta’s defence with his left foot. Although there weren’t as many opportunities for the away fans to get excited about in the first half, Ronaldo tore into Celta Vigo in the second half.
Celta allowed him too much space and their defence was extremely shoddy in general. They had to pay dearly for their mistakes as Ronaldo launched a lethal counter-attack and netted the second goal for his club.
While Ronaldo may have picked up all the accolades for breaking Greaves’ record, some credit of it has to go to Isco. If it wasn’t for his assists, Ronaldo might have not scored in the first place. He assisted both Ronaldo’s goals last night, and was at his best throughout.
What strikes as odd is how Isco’s sheer brilliance is getting noticed only now. Playing second fiddle to Gareth Bale might have dulled his shine, but as far as his talent goes, that is still spot on.
Isco has now scored or assisted 14 goals in his last 15 starts for Real Madrid across all competitions.
9 goals ⚽️
5 assists 🅰️
Top class. pic.twitter.com/jDXGpALxds
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 17, 2017
In fact, Isco played brilliantly through the middle, charging past a couple of defenders and slipping a pass beyond the defence for Ronaldo, who edged it past the left-hand post.
The Spanish player has been consistently performing well for Real Madrid and that was apparent last night, with his superb control over the midfield area. Additionally, he is one of Real Madrid’s prime counter-attacking players.
Celta Vigo have not had a bad season this time. They beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the Copa Del Rey, qualified to the Europa League semi-finals where they played Manchester United, and also featured in one of the most crucial games in the La Liga as far as the title is concerned.
Yet, they all managed to slip out of their fingers and their former Manchester City striker John Guidetti is one example as to why they come so close, and yet remain so far.
Guidetti did net the only goal of his side, but besides that he was simply out of tune. His performance looked even more terrible in sharp contrast to Ronaldo’s electrifying role in Real Madrid’s victory.
Guidetti did get close to scoring once more, but the move ended up with him losing the ball as Ronaldo scored his second goal of the night in brilliant counter-attack style.
While Iago Aspas and Daniel Wass tried their best to create some chances, Guidetti looked slow and just proved that he is not a good finisher. Next season, Celta will have to look to bolster their attack if they are serious about maintaining some of their good form.
ANALYSIS OF IMPACT
Zinedine Zidane is a master tactician on and off the field
Zidane is possibly the best thing that happened to Real Madrid in a long time. He knows how to extract the best out of his players and also knows how to handle controversy.
Ahead of this game, Nacho’s yellow card was overturned by La Liga which led to people touting the entire incident as ‘scandalous’. However, Zidane managed to silence them all by not even including the defender in his line-up for this match.
Since Zidane became manager, Real Madrid have lost just 2 of the 60 matches where they scored the first goal in the match.
— Real Madrid Stats (@RMadrid_Stats) May 17, 2017
He has been the solid foundation which allowed Real Madrid to grow like they have this season, and yet he was at the receiving end of a lot of criticism following Madrid’s defeat to Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey. Last night, however, was his answer to all the critics.
Whenever it seemed like Celta were trying to launch an attack, Karim Benzema was ever-present to silence the home team. Also, Real Madrid’s attack has improved significantly under Zidane.
Did bad refereeing cost Barcelona the La Liga title?
Real Madrid undoubtedly played well, but nobody can ignore the ridiculous refereeing that took place last night. It wouldn’t be far-fetched for Barcelona to complain that they lost the La Liga title due to bad decisions by the referee of the night.
Juan Martinez Munera – that name will not be forgotten among Celta Vigo fans for a long time.
Last night’s match blew open some horrible refereeing which would anger even a neutral. Iago Aspas should’ve been allowed to finish the game. In fact, that would’ve been the norm in any other league, but he was unjustifiably sent off on a bad decision.
Not only was this not a penalty, Iago Aspas got booked for diving. Second yellow and he's off. Good night. pic.twitter.com/lYbV0Htfvn
— Sameer (@Sameer_R13) May 17, 2017
Two of the most controversial moments of last night were Varane’s ‘handball’ resulting in Aspas getting booked for showing dissent, and then he was ordered to go back when Munera alleged that he dived, when in reality he was caught by Sergio Ramos from behind.
To prevent this from happening further, the La Liga needs to reconsider their resources and probably introduce a Video Assistant Referee from next season onwards.