This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
Real Madrid led LaLiga for the first time since October following a 2-0 win over Celta de Vigo on Saturday thanks to goals from Lucas Vázquez and Marco Asensio.
Vázquez headed Madrid ahead six minutes into the game and Asensio added a second after the break with a good shot.
Celta rarely threatened Thibaut Courtois’ goal as their six-match winless streak came to an end.
The result helped Zinedine Zidane’s team move a clear point from Atlético de Madrid, who will have a chance to return to the top when they face Deportivo Alavés on Sunday.
Celta nearly stole an early lead when Iago Aspas chased a ball behind the defense and sucked in an effort on Courtois as he went off his line, but Nacho chased after him to hook him.
3 – #Luke Vázquez has scored three goals against Celta de Vigo in all competitions, more than against any rival in his career in the highest category (level vs. Real Sociedad). jester@Real Madrid#RealMadridCelta pic.twitter.com/KsVPnIWc2V
– OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 2, 2021
From the resulting counterattack, Madrid went ahead when Asensio broke down the left and his center picked up Vázquez, who headed down the back post.
The Celta players claimed a penalty after a Jeison Murillo volley hit Ferland Mendy, but the referee dismissed the visitors’ appeals.
Madrid approached shortly before the break when Dani Carvajal saw a bold volley from the edge of the area pass just over the post.
Zidane’s team ruthlessly punished a sloppy play by Celta shortly after the break, allowing Vázquez to slide into Asensio to clinically pass goalkeeper Rubén Blanco.
Toni Kroos’s good play reopened Celta’s defense on time, but Madrid captain Karim Benzema lost his balance at the critical moment and fired over the post.
Madrid brought in Eden Hazard with 16 minutes to go as the Belgian forward continued to improve his fitness for the match after a long-term injury.
Benzema wasted another late opportunity when he lifted a shot over the crossbar, while former Los Blancos youth Miguel Baeza was denied death when Madrid watched the match without conceding a goal.
41% – Today’s 41% possession figure against Celta de Vigo is the lowest ever recorded in a Real Madrid win with Zinedine Zidane at home in all competitions. Pragmatic@Real Madrid #RealMadridCelta pic.twitter.com/rG886kBsDj
– OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 2, 2021
What does that mean? Home comforts Madrid
Madrid have scored in each of their last 29 LaLiga home games against Celta (76 goals in total), their longest scoring streak at home against a single team in the competition.
They have also won 13 of their last 15 LaLiga matches at home (lost two), 14 of them played at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium within their training ground, which is proving to be a useful home away from the Santiago Bernabéu.
Atlético still have three games in hand with Madrid, but if Zidane’s team can continue to produce these kinds of results at home, they will be the main rival for the title.
Toni in control of Kroos
Kroos has scored six goals in 12 LaLiga games against Celta, and although this time he couldn’t find the net, he was at the center of everything Madrid did well. The German midfielder made 64 passes, more than any other player, with a 94 percent complete pass, while his two key passes were improved only by Vázquez among those in white.
Blades sponge your chance
Aspas has been involved in five of Celta’s eight away goals in LaLiga this season (four goals and one assist), but managed only one shot on goal before being substituted six minutes into the second half. Had the Spanish striker been able to score from that first opportunity, he could have given Celta a foothold in the game. From then on, they hardly worried Courtois.
Madrid travel to Pamplona to face Osasuna in LaLiga next Saturday, while Celta will go to Ibiza in the Copa del Rey on Tuesday, before hosting Villarreal in LaLiga three days later.