Celta Vigo vs. Real Madrid result, score: Modric, Vinicius, Benzema on the mark in big road win
Casemiro is gone, but it’s the same old Real Madrid. The defending La Liga champions were ruthless in Vigo, torching the local side 4-1 for their second straight road victory to start the new league season.
After the two sides exchanged penalty kicks awarded for nearly identical hand balls, Luka Modric scored a highlight-reel goal just before the break on a shot from outside the box that found the top right corner. It was a goal that gave the champs a 2-1 lead and they never looked back.
In the second half, goals by Vinicius Jr. and Fede Valverde in transition rounded out the scoring. And Real Madrid could’ve added another, but Karim Benzema handed a penalty kick to teammate Eden Hazard, and the Belgian’s attempt was saved by Celta’s ‘keeper.
After Casemiro’s transfer to Manchester United, manager Carlo Ancelotti handed the Brazilian’s usual central midfield slot to recent $88 million acquisition Aurelien Tchouameni, and the team didn’t miss a beat. The 22-year-old Frenchman played with personality and rarely set a foot wrong.
Real Madrid will look to continue its perfect start next Sunday August 28, when they travel to face Espanyol in a third-straight road match.
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Luka Modric earns ovation from Celta fans
Even with the loss of Casemiro, Real Madrid still has so much star power in its squad and the soon-to-be 37-year-old Luka Modric claimed the spotlight in the 4-1 win. It was not just his world-class goal, but he also shined with his through pass to Vinicius on the team’s third goal that put the game away.
He was so masterful in his play, that he was recognized by the home crowd with a standing ovation when he was substituted in the 77th minute.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Modric said after the match. “It makes me really happy when the fans recognize you in another stadium. I thank the fans for applauding me.”
All eyes on Casemiro’s replacement
With all the attention on how he would fare in Casemiro’s place, Aurelien Tchouameni played the deep central holding midfield role with poise and personality, covering plenty of ground in a performance that bodes well for Real Madrid’s season and the club’s future.
At just 22 years of age, he did not appear fazed in the least by the pressure that came with replacing the Brazilian who led Madrid to multiple titles before transferring to Manchester United earlier this week. While Carlo Ancelotti has made it clear that others can play the position, it’s clear that it suits Tchouameni just fine.
He will play the position differently than Casemiro did — for example, while Casemiro enjoyed getting into the attack and into the opponent’s box, Tchouameni has a better long-distance shot. What stood out about these 90 minutes was his ability to make the big defensive play and break up the opposition’s attack, and then to immediately launch Real Madrid in transition with his runs and passes.
The Frenchman will help continue to make Real Madrid deadly in transition as they showed once again in the second half against Celta Vigo. His run and pass on the final goal by Fede Valverde was a sample of just how valuable he will be for Los Merengues in that phase of the game.
Real Madrid are at their best in transition
The 4-1 scoreline felt like a harsh result for Celta Vigo, who were not necessarily outplayed on balance. But Real Madrid have already shown dating back to last season that they don’t need to outplay the opposition to win games.
Against Celta, they were simply more effective, and clinical with their chances, punishing the opponent in transition. They have the quality players who make plays and good decisions on the ball, which affords them the luxury of picking their moments to pounce and still win by a difference of three goals.
Real Madrid were at their best in this match when they got from one end of the field to the other with just three passes. The front three, led by Vinicius Jr, know exactly how to pick apart a back-pedaling, scrambling defense like Celta Vigo’s in those moments.
They’ll repeat that formula in future matches, especially when the opponent takes the game to them like Celta Vigo brashly did. The best way to play against Real Madrid? By giving them a taste of their own medicine: sitting back, defending, and then hitting them in transition. The teams that can execute this plan will be the ones who can take points off Ancelotti’s side.
Celta Vigo vs. Real Madrid final score
RMA — Karim Benzema (penalty) — 14th min.
CEL — Iago Aspas (penalty) — 23rd min.
RMA — Luka Modric — 42nd min.
RMA — Vinicius Jr. — 56th min.
RMA — Fede Valverde (Vinicius Jr.) — 66th min.
Celta Vigo vs. Real Madrid live updates, highlights from Premier League
Final: Celta Vigo 1, Real Madrid 4
86th min.: Real Madrid penalty. Karim Benzema is fouled in the box on another transition, but Benzema leaves it to Eden Hazard and the Belgian’s effort is saved by the goalkeeper! Benzema is there for the followup, but that’s also stopped.
86th min.: Celta Vigo sub. American Luca de la Torre enters the match for Renato Tapia.
82nd min.: Real Madrid subs. Eden Hazard (for Vinicius Jr) and Marco Asensio (for Eduardo Camavinga) will get the final few minutes of the match.
77th min.: Subs. Luka Modric gets an ovation from the Celta Vigo crowd as he comes out of the game for Dani Ceballos. Lucas Vazquez is in for David Alaba. Antonio Rudiger will move into the center back role.
Moments later Celta Vigo’s Gabriel “Gabri” Veiga comes in for Oscar.
70th min.: Subs. Both teams make a change. Antonio Rudiger replaces Dani Carvajal who has had some injury issues to start the season. Carles Perez is in for Celta Vigo forward Goncalo Paciencia.
69th min.: Yellow card. David Alaba gets the card for a reckless foul a few minutes after Dani Carvajal got one for a foul on Goncalo Paciencia.
66th min.: Real Madrid goal. The visitors are deadly in transition. Aurelien Tchouameni wins a challenge and they burst into the attack. Pass to Vinicius Jr who sends the ball to the other side of the field where Federico Valverde beats Karim Benzema to the ball. It’s 4-1.
63rd min.: Celta chance. Center-back Joseph Aidoo gets a free header in the box on a corner kick, but he can’t get the ball on target. It’s over the bar. That was a solid chance.
56th min.: Real Madrid goal. It’s Vinicius Jr in the open field. A fantastic through ball from Luka Modric launches the Brazilian one-on-one vs. the Celta Vigo goalkeeper. Vinicius goes around him and slots home easily.
53rd min.: Celta chance. Goncalo Paciencia is dangerous, and not with his head. After a poorly executed Real Madrid throw-in, Paciencia drives a low shot just wide of the far left post.
46th min.: Second half is underway. No subs.
Half-time: Celta Vigo 1, Real Madrid 2
Half-time: Celta Vigo has looked like the better team, but Real Madrid has the lead thanks to difference-makers like Luka Modric who decide matches with their magic.
Two very similar hand-ball penalties were called for each side, and they both converted. Outside of flashes, Real Madrid haven’t sparkled. Every Real attack goes down the left for Vinicius, but he’s often triple-teamed or fouled. Karim Benzema is getting lost in midfield and hasn’t been able to combine with his teammates. Fede Valverde has been anonymous and had this nightmarish play that sums up his night:
35th min.: Celta Vigo chance. Another cross into the box looking for Goncalo Paciencia. This time it’s left-back Javi Galan who delivered and Paciencia’s header goes wide right. Thibaut Courtois was on it all the way.
33rd min.: Celta Vigo chance. Fede Valverde is dispossessed and Franco Cervi cracks a left-footed shot that just misses the right post. Cervi has been active in attack. Valverde has been invisible so far. All the Real Madrid attacks go down the left for Vinicius Jr.
22nd min.: Celta Vigo penalty. This time the hand ball is by Eder Militao on a header by Gonzalo Paciencia. And Iago Aspas converts. It’s 1-1.
11th min.: Penalty after VAR. There’s a hand ball in the Celta box. David Alaba’s shot goes off Renato Tapia’s shot and after looking at it, the referee awards the penalty kick. Real Madrid had three penalty kicks in its favor the last time they visited Vigo.
6th min.: Celta chance. First real danger presented by Celta Vigo. Franco Cervi lofts a cross into the Madrid box for Hugo Paciencia, but Real right-back Dani Carvajal puts his body on the line to challenge him and ensure he doesn’t get a clean header.
1st min.: We’re off. Real Madrid wearing black, while Celta is in their traditional sky blue kits.
5 minutes to kickoff: Teams walk out on the field. The fans are loud. Scarves up.
15 minutes to kickoff: A view of the Estadio Abanca Balaidos hosting tonight’s match:
Celta Vigo vs. Real Madrid lineups
Celta coach Eduardo ‘Chacho’ Coudet opts for two central holding midfielders against Real Madrid as Peru international Renato Tapia joins Fran Beltran in the center of the park. That means Sevilla loanee Oscar Rodriguez should operate in the wide left role in support of the main attackers Iago Aspas and Goncalo Paciencia.
Roma loanee and center mid Carles Perez is reportedly not yet fit enough for 90 minutes, and the influential Denis Suarez has been kept out of the team after a falling-out with the club president, who is hoping to have the player transferred ahead of the deadline with his contract expiring next summer.
Celta Vigo starting lineup (4-4-2, right to left): 1-Agustin Marchesin (GK) — 2-Hugo Mallo (capt.), 15-Joseph Aidoo, 4-Unai Nunez, 17-Javi Galan — 11-Franco Cervi, 8-Fran Beltran, 14-Renato Tapia, 5-Oscar Rodriguez — 10-Iago Aspas, 9-Goncalo Paciencia
Celta Vigo subs (12): 13-Ivan Villar (GK), 26-Carlos Dominguez, 3-Oscar Mingueza, 20-Kevin Vazquez, 21-Augusto Solari, 28-Gabriel Veiga, 23-Luca de la Torre, 16-Miguel Baeza, 19-Williot Swedberg, 7-Carles Perez, 32-Francisco Lopez, 29-Miguel Rodriguez
Real Madrid are without central midfield fixture Casemiro who has been transferred to Manchester United. Newly acquired Aurelien Tchouameni is his replacement as the deepest lying midfielder.
The back line will see some rotation with last week’s starters Antonio Rudiger, Nacho Fernandez, and Lucas Vazquez taking a spot on the bench. Rodrygo (hamstring), Alvaro Odriozola (undisclosed), and Toni Kroos (flu) are out.