Isco celebrates with his Real Madrid team-mates after finding the breakthrough in the second half of the league encounter
Isco scored, Gareth Bale scored, and Zinedine Zidane smiled on the touchline. This was how it was meant to be every week after Real Madrid lifted their third straight Champions League last season.
Isco celebrates after opening the scoring for Real Madrid in the 62nd minute of clash against Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu
It didn’t turn out that way with Zidane quitting in the summer and Madrid’s season imploding in failure but that was all forgotten at the Bernabeu as Real rolled over an awful Celta Vigo team on Zizou’s return to the dugout.
There were 65,000 to welcome him back – the gate would have been 20,000 down on that had he not returned – and aside from one ‘Florentino Guilty’ banner that blamed the president and twice stewards tried to take down it was all positive vibes and forward thinking.
Gareth Bale fires a low right-footed shot in off the post to double Real Madrid’s advantage over Celta Vigo on Saturday
Bale celebrates after scoring Real Madrid’s second goal of the game with 12 minutes remaining at the Bernabeu
Real Madrid forward Bale (left) celebrates his goal with defender Sergio Ramos and the rest of his team-mates in second half
Zidane was given a huge ovation and although this win does nothing to save Madrid’s season it suggests the club can be got back on the right track by Zidane, whose name was sang by supporters on the final whistle.
Everyone will be happy. Everyone, except Thibaut Courtois maybe. He was dropped as Keylor Navas returned to the first team.
Isco was also back and he had his first chance to prove his point early on but sent his shot over the bar as he was falling backwards. He had Bale to his right in space and should have played him in.
Isco shakes hands with manager Zinedine Zidane after being substituted shortly after breaking the deadlock in second half
Spanish referee Juan Martinez Munuera checks the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) to eventually rule out Luka Modric’s goal
It didn’t take long for Navas to justify his selection. Maxi Gomez’s bullet header was bound for the roof of the net but Navas’ reflex save prevented the goal.
Toni Kroos then tried his luck with a shot from a long way out but his effort skimmed the top of the net.
Bale came closest to breaking the deadlock by hitting the bar after Karim Benzema’s failed bicycle kick from Marco Asensio’s cross had dropped to him in the area. His volley came back off the frame of the goal and Asensio was unable to turn in the loose ball.
Celta keeper Ruben Blanco then turned away Marcelo’s shot and Sergio Ramos headed Kroos’ corner just wide.
Manager Zidane took charge of his first game on Saturday since returning to the Real Madrid hotseat earlier this week
Zidane said the offer to ‘come home’ was too good to turn down on Monday as he signed a contract until the summer of 2022
Zidane shouts from the touchline during the opening exchanges of the La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Celta Vigo
Real Madrid: Navas, Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Modric (Valverde 77), Kroos, Bale, Isco (Ceballos 63), Asensio, Benzema (Mariano 82)
Subs not used: Nacho, Diaz, Reguilon, Courtois.
Celta Vigo: Blanco, Vazquez, Costas, Araujo, Junca (Hoedt 4),Yokuslu (Beltran 75), Lobotka, Sisto, Mendez, Boufal (Hjulsager 68), Gomez.
Subs not used: Alvarez, Jensen, Sanchez, Boudebouz.
Referee: Juan Martinez Munuera
Celta were still on level terms and they were being given plenty of space by Madrid when they had they ball. But they are woeful right now sliding towards relegation with their best player, Iago Aspas, injured.
Their first half was summed up by Pione Sisto’s crossfield pass being skewed so badly it went out of play for a throw-in.
Madrid’s final chance of the half ended with Bale crossing for Benzema to score into an empty net. The goal was ruled out and Bale booked for an elbow on Kevin Vazquez as he ran clear.
Bale risked a second yellow with another foul but was given the benefit of the doubt by referee Juan Martinez Munuera who was about to have a big call to make. Luka Modric’s bouncing shot from distance beat Blanco but both Raphael Varane and Ramos were offside. The ball touched neither of them but were they interfering with play?
Zidane recalled Bale to the starting line-up in his first match back in charge of Real Madrid on Saturday afternoon
Celta Vigo goalkeeper Ruben Blanco (right) dives to save Bale’s shot (second right) during the first period at the Bernabeu
Real Madrid’s Ramos (right) and goalkeeper Keylor Navas (left), who started in place of Thibaut Courtois, high five
Real Madrid’s Alvaro Odriozola in action with Celta Vigo’s David Costas during the first half of the league encounter
Real Madrid’s Isco (right), who was recalled by Zidane, in action against Celta Vigo’s Okay Yokuslu (left) at the Bernabeu
The referee watched a replay of the goal pitchside and decided Varane had blocked the keeper’s view. It didn’t matter because Madrid scored with their next attack and this time it counted.
Asensio’s diagonal run across the face of the Celta area ended with him finding Benzema whose cross was bundled in by Isco.
Bale could then have made it two but he slipped as he shot and Blanco saved. Bale then set-up Benzema but he couldn’t readjust his body shape and his shot lacked the power to beat Blanco.
There was still time for Bale to make it two with 12 minutes left. Marcelo attacked down the left and when he pulled the ball back Bale finished right footed off the post.
Zidane watches on from the sidelines as Odriozola (left) challenges with Celta’s Yokuslu for the ball during the first half
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema argues with the referee during a tight opening 45 minutes of the league clash on Saturday
Real Madrid captain Ramos reacts as the hosts went in search of the opening goal against Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu
Zidane gives forward Benzema instructions on the sidelines during the league match against Celta Vigo on Saturday