Real Madrid 2-2 Celta Vigo: Santi Mina scores late equaliser as La Liga leaders are held on Eden Hazard’s return to action
Real Madrid welcomed back Eden Hazard just in time for the return of Champions League football, but had their La Liga wings clipped by Celta Vigo who won a point at the Bernabeu.
Madrid had taken a 2-1 lead with Hazard winning a penalty which Sergio Ramos scored to put the home team ahead. But from Denis Suarez’s sublime pass Santi Mina scored a late equalizer to leave Real Madrid just one point clear of Barcelona at the top.
On seven minutes Celta Vigo were ahead. Fedor Smolov took a superb Iago Aspas through ball on the turn and shot past Thibaut Courtois.
Substitute Santi Mina celebrates after scoring a late equaliser for Celta Vigo vs Real Madrid
Mina celebrates following his goal, with a point seeing Celta move out of the relegation zone
Sergio Ramos celebrates his goal, which gave Real Madrid the lead at home to Celta Vigo
Ramos is delighted following his goal, but Real couldn’t hold onto their lead against Celta
Ramos showed good composure from the spot as he scored his fifth league goal this season
Madrid were stunned and Hazard back in the team for the first time in 81 days led the fightback but for all their chances Madrid could not break Celta down.
Gareth Bale laid the ball off to Casemiro who shot over. Bale then went close from distance himself and Marcelo also tried his luck from long range.
Madrid laid siege on Celta’s goal and Bale’s flicked finish went wide after Hazard and Benzema had linked up brilliantly down the left.
But for all the pressure it was Joseph Aidoo who almost scored next. His towering header from a corner was pushed away by Thibaut Courtois.
Madrid had peppered the Celta box but few were finding a white shirt and although there had been plenty of shots none of them had been on target.
Eden Hazard played 73 minutes on his first appearance since November as he made his return
Hazard battles for possession with Celta Vigo midfielder Rafinha during the clash on Sunday
MATCH FACTS & LA LIGA TABLE
Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos (Modric 81); Bale (Mendy 84), Benzema, Hazard (Vinicius Junior 73)
Subs: Areola, Jovic, Militao, Isco
Booked: Carvajal, Bale
Goals: Kroos 52, Ramos 65 (pen)
Celta Vigo: Blanco; Aidoo, Murillo, Araujo, Vazquez (Sisto 55), Rafinha, Yokuslu, Bradaric (Mina 83), Olaza; Aspas, Smolov (Suarez 70)
Subs: Alvarez, Beltran, Mendez, Fernandez
Booked: Olaza, Yokuslu
Sergio Ramos had the ball in the net at the restart. But before he could celebrate with Bale who had dropped the ball onto his right foot, Bale spotted the raised flag correctly ruling out the goal.
Toni Kroos was next to hit the back of the net and this time there was no flag. It was with his ‘wrong’ foot if he has such a thing – gliding the ball across the turf and past Ruben Blanco from Marcelo’s pull-back.
The tempo was cranked up but with Celta responding well. Zinedine Zidane was even tackled as Aidoo slid off the pitch and straight into the Real Madrid coach.
On 63 minutes Ramos had the chance to put Madrid ahead from the spot. Ruben Blanco brought down Eden Hazard completely unnecessarily. The Belgian had run out of pitch but was felled on the byline. And Ramos – with his trademark delayed run-up – slotted the kick into the corner. It should have been a goal-kick, instead Madrid were ahead.
Toni Kroos celebrates his goal, which pulled Real Madrid level in their clash with Celta Vigo
Smolov celebrates with his team-mates Lucas Olaza and Iago Aspas after finding the net
Fedor Smolov celebrates after his goal gave Celta Vigo a shock lead against Real Madrid
Hazard, having won the spot-kick was now spraying passes across the pitch and – strong past the hour-mark – looking very much like a player ready to take on Manchester City in the Champions League.
He finally made way for Vinicius on 73 minutes to huge applause, moments after a late challenge from Bale on Rafinha almost saw him leave the pitch – red carded – before his team-mate. The challenge was around the side as opposed to through the back of the Brazilian so the card was only yellow despite the Celta protests. Bale was taken off on 84 minutes, replaced by Ferland Mendy.
It was a Celta substitute who would produce the final twist however. Denis Suarez’ pass put Mina through and he levelled the game denying Madrid two points.