Match Report: Celta Vigo v Real Madrid
La Liga, Balaidos
Real Madrid play catch up again on Sunday night when Carlo Ancelotti and his troops visit Vigo looking for three points that would narrow the gap at the top of La Liga back to two points.
Barcelona held their part of the deal on Saturday with a 2-0 derby win at Espanyol and Madrid cannot afford any dropped points in Galicia as the matches tick away.
Balaidos has been somewhat of a fortress for Eduardo Berizzo’s side, however, with Celta giving Barca a real game not too long ago and also beating Atletico Madrid, as well as holding high-flying Valencia.
Los Blancos make the long trip north wounded with Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale all sidelined through injury but they will at least be buoyed by their midweek Champions League quarter-final success against Atleti.
Madrid team news:
The trio of Modric, Benzema and Bale will still be sidelined for the trip to Balaidos, meaning Ancelotti could hand midweek goal hero Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez another start in attack alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
Madrid’s 4-4-2 with the Mexican in front the start worked so well against Diego Simeone’s side and Ancelotti could trust in it again again Celta.
There will be no Sergio Ramos in midfield again, however, after the Italian confirmed the Spain international would take his place in defence for the match. That could mean a return to the fold of Asier Illarramendi, with Ancelotti keen not to play the departing Sami Khedira and Lucas Silva yet to fully earn his trust.
Marcelo should come back into the starting eleven at the expense of Fabio Coentrao after he missed the Champions League match through suspension.
Celta team news:
Borja Oubina and Carles Planas are Celta’s only injury problems and that means boss Eduardo Berizzo could stick with the same starting eleven that saw off Eibar last time out.
Nemanja Radoja suffered a knock in midweek but managed to shake it off. Still, he is only expected to make the bench for the visit of the capital club.
Former Barcelona man Nolito will be in Celta’s starting line-up and he will be keen to help his old club out with a starring performance against Ancelotti’s side.
“We have to be ready for a very intense and dynamic match. Celta are a good side, they’ve shown that against Atlético and Barcelona. We will need to be physically strong and impose our game plan.
“This will be different to the first meeting we had with them this season. Celta have a different energy in their own ground, they play at a different tempo. They are a very good footballing side and are having a great season. They have a lot of quality up front: Orellana, Santi Mina, Nolito. They are a very dangerous team and beating them will require a great effort.”
– Celta’s last game at Balaidos saw them thrash a club from Madrid by a huge margin. Rayo Vallecano were the visitors at the hosts ran out 6-1 victors.
– Madrid cruised to a 3-0 home win against the Galicians in the reverse fixture in December at the Bernabeu. Cristiano Ronaldo scored all three, including one from the spot.
– However, the last time Madrid travelled to Vigo they went down to a 2-0 defeat last season which ended their title hopes. Charles scored both goals for the hosts.
– Ronaldo is looking to notch his 40th goal of the season at Balaidos. He also has 14 assists to his name in La Liga this season.
– Javier Hernandez is in-line to make just his third league start. He has four goals, helped by 15 more appearances from the bench. He scored twice in Galicia last time in an 8-2 thumping of Deportivo.
– The last time Madrid travelled to Galicia they inflicted an 8-2 thrashing on Deportivo earlier this season.
v Almeria (H) – 29/4/15