Real Madrid get title bid back on track with victory in Vigo

Real Madrid moved to within 4 points of leaders Barcelona with a convincing 4-2 victory at Celta Vigo on Sunday evening.

Karim Benzema put the visitors in front with a fluid turn and finish before he manufactured an own goal from Gustavo Cabral to double Los Blancos’ lead.

Celta captain Hugo Mallo’s volley got Vigo back on track before Sergio Ramos derailed any chance of a comeback with a chipped penalty.

Dani Ceballos added a fantastic fourth before Brais Méndez rounded off the scoring with a stoppage-time consolation for the hosts.

Celta Vigo were inches away from opening the scoring after period of end-to-end attacking. Turkish midfielder Okay Yokuslu leapt highest to meet a floated corner but his header bounced down and smashed against the post.

Karim Benzema returned to his former self, the one seen under Carlo Ancelotti and sometimes under Zinedine Zidane, when he calmly guided the ball past Sergio’s flailing limbs to give the visitors the lead after 23 minutes.

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The composure oozing out of the Frenchman during his finessed finish was nowhere to be seen 12 minutes later as Toni Kroos carelessly lifted his effort over an unguarded goalframe from Benzema’s cut-back. Despite this moment of clumsiness Kroos and Luka Modric were orchestrating proceedings in the midfield at Balaídos.

If Celta were fortunate to go into the break just the one goal down, their luck certainly ran out when the visitors found the back of their net again. Benzema shimmied and squirmed through two defenders before hitting the foot of the upright. The ball bounced up and was comically turned in by Celta’s Gustavo Cabral on his way back to his own goal.

Another Vigo defender had the ball in the back of the net minutes later as Hugo Mallo volleyed past Thibaut Courtois to haul the hosts back into the contest. David Juncá brought down Álvaro Odriozola in the 82nd minute, allowing Sergio Ramos to clip in his third goal of the season from the penalty spot.

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With the game out of sight for the Galician side, Cabral’s night went from bad to worse as he picked up a second booking minutes after and received his marching orders. Celta were finished, but the game wasn’t over yet. Dani Ceballos notched his first league goal of the season in stunning style, whipping a strike past Sergio from the edge of the area and finding the top corner in the process.

Brais Méndez managed a deflected, late consolation for the home side but couldn’t stop a rejuvenated Real Madrid running out 4-2 winners.

 

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