Sluggish Real Madrid held at home by Celta Vigo
La Liga, Bernabeu - Real Madrid 2 (Kroos 52', Ramos pen. 65') Celta Vigo 2 (Smolov 7', Mina 85')
Santi Mina struck a late equaliser as Real Madrid dropped two points, allowing a 2-1 lead to slip in a 2-2 home draw against Celta Vigo in La Liga.
The result puts Zinedine Zidane’s side one point clear of Barcelona at the top of the table, but having come into the weekend with a three-point advantage the late goal scored by Celta Vigo could prove to be a costly one for Los Blancos.
The visitors took the lead after just seven minutes when Iago Aspas slotted through Fedor Smolov, with the Russian sliding a finish past Thibaut Courtois to score his first La Liga since joining in the January window.
Real Madrid ramped up things at the start of the second half and turned the game around, first with an equaliser from Toni Kroos who finished from a Marcelo cut back and then from the spot as Sergio Ramos converted a penalty kick won by the returning Eden Hazard.
Zidane must have thought the points were in the bag, but Celta Vigo struck late on when substitute Santi Mina rolled a shot past Courtois after an exceptional assist by Denis Suarez. With the Clasico on March 1 starting to appear on the horizon, this served a blow to Real Madrid’s title hopes.
TALKING POINT - This sort of result had been coming for Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s league form since the defeat to Real Mallorca at the end of October has been remarkable, going 15 games unbeaten. However, so many of those games have been decided by the odd goal. As long as the scoreline remains narrow opposition sides still have a chance and Celta Vigo took that chance this evening. Zidane’s side must find a way to win matches more convincingly between now and the end of the season.
Fedor Smolov of RC CeltaGetty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH - Rafinha (Celta Vigo)
The former Barcelona man has the quality to harm most sides in La Liga and he demonstrated as much with this performance at the Santiago Bernabeu. Rafinha warmed to the game and was key to Celta Vigo dragging themselves back into the match late on. Aspas, Smolov and Suarez also deserve a mention for their respective displays, but Rafinha was the best player on the pitch for the visitors and warrants recognition.
Celta Vigo - Ruben 6, Kevin 6, Aidoo 7, Araujo 5, Murillo 6, Olaza 6, Bradaric 5, Okay 6, Rafinha 8, Aspas 7, Smolov 7. Subs - Sisto 5, Mina 7, Suarez 7.
7’ GOAL! Real Madrid 0-1 Celta Vigo: Celta Vigo have taken a shock lead at the Santiago Bernabeu! Smolov was played in behind Varane, the Russian's first touch set him up for the finish and he rolled the ball past Courtois and into the back of the Real Madrid net! What a start!
44’ Courtois forced into action! What a chance that was for Celta Vigo to double their advantage with Aidoo getting on the end of a corner kick into the area, but Courtois makes the save from his header.
49’ GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.... NO! Real Madrid think that they have restored parity, with Ramos slamming home a finish from a Bale cross. But the flag is up for offside and VAR backs that up.
52’ GOAL! Real Madrid 1-1 Celta Vigo: This time the Real Madrid equaliser does stand! Benzema waited for the overlapping run of Marcelo, the Brazilian cut back a cross into the middle and Kroos arrived on the home to sweep home a low finish, getting the hosts back on level terms!
Toni Kroos celebrates scoring for Real Madrid against Celta VigoGetty Images
66’ PENALTY KICK TO REAL MADRID! The referee finally awards the spot kick for the foul on Hazard by Ruben! He was miles off his line.
67’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 Celta Vigo: Ramos had a goal chalked off earlier in the match, but this one will count! The Real Madrid captain steps up to the 12-yard mark and beats Ruben with a powerful strike despite the Celta Vigo goalkeeper diving the right way. Real Madrid are ahead!
86’ GOAL! Real Madrid 2-2 Celta Vigo: Late drama at the Santiago Bernabeu! Celta Vigo have drawn level! Suarez played a wonderful pass through to Mina and the substitute with one of his first touches after coming off the bench sends a low finish past Courtois and into the bottom corner of the net!
No player has won more penalty kicks in La Liga than Eden Hazard this season (tied on three with Nabil Fekir).
Real Madrid attempted 26 crosses in the first half, more than in any half under Zinedine Zidane.