Emerging victorious from a curious game packed with penalty drama, Madrid takes one step closer to regaining the title by beating Celta – albeit a touch fortuitously.
Celta should have scored more than their solitary second-half strike, and it is a rare occasion.
When any team is presented with three opportunities from the spot, following the disappointment of El Clasico, though, any win will do for Los Blancos, who are now 12 points clear at the summit.
CELTA VIGO (4-1-3-2): Matias Dituro;
Kevin Vazquez, Jeison Murillo, Joseph Aidoo, Javi Galan;
Fran Beltran; Brais Mendez, Denis Suarez, Nolito;
Iago Aspas, Thiago Galhardo.
REAL MADRID (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois;
Lucas Vazquez, Eder Militao, David Alaba, Ferland Mendy;
Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro;
Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior.
MADRID LEAD! With typical aplomb, Benzema strides forward and plants his spot-kick past Dituro and into the back of the net, giving Los Blancos the lead! It was centrally placed, but the goalkeeper dived early.
CELTA LEVEL! Nolito makes amends for conceding the penalty as he turns the ball home from close range following a quick counter-attack – Galan providing the decisive pass into his path in the centre of the box. So we are back on level terms at Balaidos: 1-1!
MADRID IS BACK IN FRONT! With his third penalty kick of the match, Benzema sends Dituro the wrong way with a precision strike into the bottom-left corner, and Los Blancos regain the lead! 2-1 to Madrid!
So, what’s next?
Ancelotti and company can now focus on a compelling Champions League quarter-final clash with Chelsea next week as the 13-times European champions seek to find their way past the holders and reach the final four.
Meanwhile, Celta will visit Espanyol next Sunday, still searching for an end to their worrying decline in form.
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