Our first home match of the season came with a bit more difficulty than I think we would have liked.
Real Madrid: Kiko Casilla; Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo, Dani Carvajal; Casemiro, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos; Gareth Bale, Marco Asensio, Alvaro Morata
Celta Vigo: Sergio Alvarez; Jonathon Castro, Gustavo Cabral, Hugo Mallo, Facundo Roncaglia; Nemanja Radoja, Daniel Wass, Fabian Orellana, Pablo Hernandez, John Guidetti; Theo Bongonda
Prior to the match the honorary kick-off was taken by Mireia Belmonte, who won gold in the 200m butterfly and bronze in the 400m individual medley at the Olympics.
The stadium then held a moment of silence for the victims of the earthquake in Italy this week. All La Liga matches held the moment of silence, as did Serie A and Bundesliga.
Celta had an early chance that may have been a goal had Wass not whiffed. Varane cleared, thankfully.
Celta looked very good in the first half. They were pressing high and unfortunately, we don’t really know how to deal with that. I was getting frustrated when we had a couple of our players pushed off the ball with no call. We even had a couple shouts for penalties and there was nothing. I typically like it when the refs let them play and don’t call everything. And this ref in particular, I don’t normally have issues. Also, he’s 30, Basque, and not bad on the eyes…
I would like to point out that, in the absence of Navas, Kiko has been fabulous. It’s nice to have two great keepers, isn’t it?
Modric hit the crossbar in the 29th minute and it felt a bit like the way the first half was going. It just wasn’t happening for us.
Casemiro was lucky not to get a card in the 33rd minute. He absolutely shoved Pablo Hernandez, who was running his mouth. To be honest, Casemiro should have been carded. I’m very surprised he wasn’t.
There was only one minute of added time and the teams ended the first half 0-0.
We had a bit of a hard time getting in gear at the beginning of the second half. It was all Celta for a good 5 minutes. We’re very lucky that we didn’t go a goal down. When we did get it to the other end, we didn’t do very well on the ball.
The first yellow card of the match went to Mallo in the 52nd minute. After clattering into Morata for about the millionth time it seemed, he was finally booked.
That must have opened the flood gates for the ref because just 3 minutes later, Jonny picked up a yellow for bringing down Gareth.
Our first goal came in the 60th minute. Asensio’s shot was bobbled by Sergio Alvarez and Morata pounced on it. You could see how happy he was. I get very frustrated with Morata sometimes, but I adore him very much.
He hearly had another one in the 64th minute when Toni played in a great ball for Morata, but it hit the goal post.
Vazquez came in for Asensio in the 65th minute. It’s such an emotional moment to have Vazquez, whom I adore, come in for another player I’m quickly coming to adore.
After some pretty bad defending, Orellana evened it up in the 67th minute. He beat Casilla with a superb goal. I won’t deny him that. But I was not happy.
In the 69th minute, we got some Juggy Jummus Rodriguez in for Lukita. My footie disliking roommate, who is strangely obsessed with James, was delighted.
In the 73rd minute, Guidetti was replaced by Iago Aspas for Celta.
The 77th minute saw a substitution for both teams. For Celta, Wass was replaced by Diop. For Madrid, it was Mariano Diaz for Alvarito. It was a surprising substitution for me, but Morata was looking very frustrated. I think it was a good one. Give Mariano the minutes and keep Morata fresh.
In the 81st minute, it was #ToniLive (who was absolutely excellent in the second half) who put us ahead again. We’d been putting so much pressure on. Then Vazquez played the ball across and Toni slotted it home from outside the 18. It meant so much to him. He was so ridiculously excited and I might have swooned just a little.
And again, The Peez did not seem impressed. Something is going on there. Because every time the cameras show Florentino after a goal, he hasn’t looked happy. I’m not sure what’s up. But there’s something that he doesn’t like.
In the 85th minute, Radoja was replaced by Sisto for Celta.
Aspas was close in the 87th minute, but the match ended Real Madrid 2 – 1 Celta Vigo after 3 minutes of added time.
Begin as you intend to go on boys!
Zidane: “We believed right up to the end”
by Javier Garcia“I was pleased with the players’ attitudes in chasing the three points”, added the Whites’ coach.
Zidane appeared in the press room at the Santiago Bernabéu to analyse his side’s win against Celta: “We played against a team who played a lot better than I expected, especially in defence. They made life hard for us and we didn’t get any easy chances. Sometimes it happens that a game goes to 1-1 and it’s not easy. We took the three points from this game and the players’ attitudes really pleased me, they believed right up to the end. They were focussed right up to the final whistle”.
“It is clear that we didn’t particularly shine. In some games we are unable to play how we want to. We played against a tough opponent that made life hard for us. We have room for improvement but I’m content with our start to the season: winning two La Liga games an winning another official game. Now we have the International games coming up and a lot of players will have to go but we can’t change that”.
“Changes are made in order to bring something more to a game and that is what happened. We can do a lot better. That was how the game was, but it is what happens at times. We believed up the end and we got the three points, which is the most important thing”.
“I thought James did well. It’s not easy to have to come on and make a difference. He looked good, had a chance, and as you say, he’s going to stay here”.
Changing Morata and Modric
“He put in a very good, complete performance. Morata scored once and he could’ve got two or three. I took him off for Mariano to give us some fresh legs, he could do move defensively and offer us more pace up top. Luka worked very hard and I had to freshen things up a bit. He just took a knock. He looked good and had decent chances, he’s a little bit behind the rest of the group”.
“Kroos and Modric are very important. They pressed very well and fulfilled their defensive duties. Sometimes it’s tough for the forwards and they helped the midfielders out and the full-backs as well. I’m very happy with my team, it’s clear we have to improve but sometimes things are not so straightforward at the beginning. The opponent often knows how you play and how to neutralise the threat posed by our fullbacks”.
“Celta always make the game difficult, but we were patient and we’ve got the win”, stated Marcelo.
Toni Kroos scored the winner in the victory over Celta and he shared his thoughts on the first La Liga match of the season at the Bernabéu: “They worked very hard in the first half and we struggled to play with much pace. In the second half we were much better, we pressed high up and created more chances. We deserved the win in the end”.
“I don’t know if it’s my best goal, although I had already scored against Celta. This was an important goal. I’m feeling good, it was the second match and we’ve played 90 tough minutes against a good opponent. It’s a good result and a positive sign for the team”.
Marcelo: “We’re improving slowly but surely”
“Celta always make the game difficult. Today was no different but we were patient and we’ve got the win. It wasn’t a fantastic game but we’re improving slowly but surely”.
“It was our first home game and it was a hard one, but the important thing is that we got the three points. Playing at the Bernabéu is important because the fans get behind you and today was no exception. They really help us a lot”.
Lucas: “We have to win all of our games in the Bernabéu”
“It was a difficult game against opposition that plays good football. Tonight it was warm and it was a harder game than we expected. We are happy to come away with the three points, which is the important thing”. “Our stadium has to be a fortress and we have to win all of our games here. Any losses are damaging”.
“I don’t think it will be James’ last game with Real Madrid but we’ll see what happens”.
Carvajal: “We’re going into the break with 6 points”
“Celta pushed us all the way and we dominated certain phases of the game. The important thing is that we’re going into the break with 6 points. We have to be strong at home and not give any points away”.
“In the last half an hour both teams were struggling with the heat. But we have to win every game and so far, we’ve managed that. We have to keep going like this when we come back after the international break”.
“Everyone knows about Kroos’ quality and he’s scored a similar goal before against Rayo”.
“He’s been wanting to score and it’s just a shame that the post denied him a double. I’m sure he’s going to score a lot of goals”.
Post-Match Social Media:
The next match is 10 September at home against Osasuna. We now cross our fingers and hope that the international break is nice to us!
¡Hala Madrid y Nada Mas!