Real Madrid continued their excellent form under interim boss Santiago Solari, clinching a hard-fought 4-2 win over Celta Vigo on Sunday.
In the wake of Barcelona’s 4-3 defeat over Real Betis this weekend, Real Madrid had an excellent opportunity to bridge the gap between the league leaders. And they did manage to make the most out of that opportunity, securing a 4-2 win over Celta Vigo, in what was surely a stern test for interim coach Santiago Solari.
The European champions started on a positive note, creating a series of opportunities while restricting Celta from making any progress in their own defensive third. They executed a high line of press with fullbacks moving forward at every opportunity as Karim Benzema drew first blood in the 23rd minute. thanks to an excellent ball from Luka Modric.
Celta did manage to respond quickly, hitting the bar once but failed to breach the Real Madrid in the first half. And at the end, they were unlucky as Gustavo Cabral scored an own goal to double Madrid’s lead in the 56th minute although Betis pulled one back around the hour mark through Hugo Mallo.
The hosts looked very dangerous soon after scoring their first of the night as they pinned down Real in their half but at the same time, they were terribly exposed at the back. The visitors experienced a lot of nervy moments before Sergio Ramos sealed all three points for his side with an 83rd-minute penalty while Dani Ceballos scored in the injury time to add further gloss into the scoreline.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 11, 2018
Here are the Real Madrid players rated in their hard-fought win over Celta Vigo.
Thibaut Courtois: 7.5/10
Made an excellent save to deny Iago Aspas from scoring the second equalizer midway through the second half and did well whenever he was called upon. Unfortunately for him, Brais Mendez’s last minute goal was deflected off Dani Ceballos as he was left completely clueless. A decent showing from the Belgian, who has had a rusty start to his Real Madrid career.
Alvaro Odriozola: 8/10
He was a real threat for Celta in the final third, as his sharp movements made it difficult for the defenders on the right flank. He combined well with Lucas Vazquez on the far side while his sheer pace helped him get in behind the Celta defence on numerous occasions.
Nacho Fernandez: 7.5/10
Did what he does best – that is defending deep and clearing out any trouble before he was dealt with an injury during the final phase of the game. He has been ruled out for the rest of the year, which could be a huge blow for Los Blancos, especially with Raphael Varane also facing a spell on the sidelines.
Sergio Ramos: 8/10
His panenka over goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez was an absolute delight. Aside from that, the Spanish international was calm and composed in defence, although he did have a part to play in conceding the first goal due to his lack of concentration.
Sergio Reguilon: 8/10
Another consistent display from the 21-year-old, who has really benefitted from the absence of Marcelo, as it seems. He provided terrific service going forward, hoising a lot of dangerous crosses, including the one to set-up Karim Benzema in the first half but the Frenchman’s effort was saved by Alvarez.
Luka Modric: 7.5/10
Dictated the play in the early stages of the game, notably making a well-timed pass to set-up Benzema for the opener. However, it was not exactly a convincing display from Modric compared to his lofty standards as his influence faded as the game progressed.
Did his job in defensive midfield, getting rid of loose balls whilst making a couple of important tackles before a rash tackle from Maxi Gomez in the seventh minute ultimately forced him off the pitch around the first quarter of the game.
Toni Kroos: 8/10
Another solid display from the German international, who has been absolutely brilliant in recent weeks. Kroos was composed in possession and dictated the tempo of the game with some tip-top passing. Hda complete control of the midfield for the most period of the contest.
Lucas Vazquez: 6.5/10
Not exactly a great game for the Spanish international, who failed to make any notable contribution to the attacking third, aside from a few good passes on the right flank. Would have been subbed off had it not been for the three injuries Real Madrid sustained during the game.
Karim Benzema: 9/10
Slowly getting back to the Benzema that we’re used to seeing, which was clearly evident in his excellent performance against Celta. He was a nuisance in the box, keeping defenders at their toes with some clever movements and most importantly, he led the line responsibly as well, getting onto the end of some delightful crosses from the flanks.
Gareth Bale: 7.5/10
Bale is one of the most delightful players to watch when he’s fit and he showed it again, with yet another impressive display against Celta. He played a key role behind Madrid’s solid start to the game before sustaining an injury, which minimized his effectiveness in the final third.
Dani Ceballos: 8/10
He was the chosen substitute for Casemiro and despite the stark differences between the two players, it never felt like Madrid were missing the presence of the Brazilian thanks to Ceballos’ excellent performance in midfield. He instigated the play in the middle third with some delightful passing and a beautiful goal at the end.
Javi Sanchez: 7.5/10
Replaced Reguilon after the restart and shifted into a central role, where he impressed with some sharp tackles.
Marco Asensio: NA
Should have started the game ahead of Vazquez instead of coming on as a 71st substitute for the injured Nacho.