Real Madrid 2-0 Celta Vigo: Asensio and Militao extend winning run

By Sports Desk April 22, 2023

Marco Asensio and Eder Militao ensured there was no Champions League hangover for Real Madrid as Carlo Ancelotti's side scored a comfortable 2-0 win over Celta Vigo in LaLiga.

Buoyed by a 2-0 win over Chelsea in London that secured a place in the European semi-finals, it was back to the grind of domestic league duties on Saturday.

A glamorous semi-final against Manchester City awaits Madrid next month, after a Copa del Rey final clash with Osasuna, but in the league Los Blancos have been off the pace this season.

They trimmed Barcelona's lead at the top to eight points with this win, secured by Asensio's strike late in the first half and Militao's header soon after the break. Curiously, this was a fourth successive 2-0 victory for Madrid.

Aurelien Tchouameni headed waywardly from an early chance for the hosts, before Karim Benzema took aim from 25 yards and found row Z.

Asensio had a shot deflect over the Celta bar and Nacho ripped a strike over the angle of post and crossbar as pressure grew and the men in white swarmed.

Madrid were missing the midfield brains trust of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, both rested to the bench, but they broke through in the 42nd minute when Vinicius Junior's low cross from the left was clipped into the right corner by Asensio. It was his eighth goal of the league campaign, and a seventh assist for Vinicius.

A thumping header from Militao doubled Madrid's lead in the 48th minute as he darted in to convert Asensio's inswinging corner from the right.

Iago Aspas squandered a chance to trim the lead as he shot over the Madrid bar, before Benzema almost made it 3-0 when he got on the end of a swift burst from the hosts. Vinicius tore down the left and flicked a smart cross to the near post, but Benzema's powerful header was brilliantly blocked by goalkeeper Ivan Villar. It hardly mattered, with Madrid effectively already home and hosed.

What does it mean? Madrid test their resources and the results bode well

This outcome was not exactly unexpected. After all, Madrid came into the game having not lost any of their last 17 matches against Celta in LaLiga (W15 D2).

Coming four days after clinching progress in Europe, however, it was one where Madrid needed to show they have a sharp enough focus, whatever the occasion.

Coach Ancelotti made five changes, with only one of them forced on him by an injury to David Alaba, and those who came in, including Asensio, proved worth their place.

Considering Madrid will need to draw on their squad depth over a hectic run of games in the next six weeks, this was a good sign.

Asensio takes his chance

Promoted to the starting line-up as Rodrygo reverted to bench duty following his double at Chelsea, Asensio made the most of his opportunity.

His strike looked to take a deflection on its way in, but they all count, and it was his corner that set up Madrid's killer second goal.

Asensio's run-out lasted 76 minutes, in which time he managed four attempts on goal, two of which went on target, but a team-high six key passes.

Familiar story for Celta defence

There was scant chance of a shutout for the visitors here. Indeed, the result means Celta have still kept just one clean sheet in their 57 away games against Madrid in LaLiga (W6 D6 L45), and that clean sheet came as far back as March 1977, in a 0-0 draw.

They have scored in just one of their last 11 league visits to face Madrid, and this was a sixth successive defeat on LaLiga duty against Los Blancos, the third time that has happened.

What's next?

Madrid travel to Girona on Tuesday in their next LaLiga assignment, while Celta host league whipping boys Elche on the following day.

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