Celta Vigo 2-2 Real Madrid: Gareth Bale scores double but champions held
By Robert O'Connor
Last Updated: 08/01/18 8:49am
Gareth Bale scored twice but Real Marid fell further behind runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona after Maxi Gomez scored late on to claim a 2-2 draw for Celta Vigo.
Bale's first-half double looked to have sealed the points for Real at the Balaidos when he struck twice in two minutes to cancel out Daniel Wass's sublime lob, and Celta's luck looked to be out when Keylor Navas saved Iago Aspas's second-half penalty.
Real looked to have done enough to claim the points, but lost their lead when Gomez leapt highest to nod Wass's cross past Navas with eight minutes to go.
The result leaves the champions 16 points behind Barcelona and facing the prospect of being out of the La Liga title race by January, with the gap to Valencia in third now five points.
Celta Vigo: Ruben (6), Hugo Mallo (7), Roncaglia (6), Cabral (7), Jonny (7), Radoja (7), Wass (8), Hernandez (7), Iago Aspas (8), Gomez (8), Sisto (7)
Subs: Lobptka (6), Mor, (7), Jozabed (7)
Real Madrid: Navas (7), Varane (6), Nacho (7), Ronaldo (6), Kroos (7), Modric (7), Bale (8), Marcelo (5), Casemiro (7), Achraf (7), Isco (7).
Subs: Asensio (6), Kovacic (6), Lucas (7)
Man of the match: Iago Aspas
Real came close to opening the scoring in just the second minute when Bale rose to meet Isco's chipped cross but failed to make good contact, and the visitors were slow in moving the ball up to their opponent's third as the half progressed.
That lack of directness suited Celta, and they came within inches of taking the lead on 12 minutes when Iago Aspas's first-time effort from Hugo Mallo's whipped cross came back off the post.
Wass slid a weak shot past Navas's post on 25 minutes after Gomez had found him in space, but the Dane made up for his miss eight minutes later when he ran on to Gomez's through-ball and kept his composure to lob the ball over the stranded Navas.
Real hit instantly back with two goals in three minutes from Bale, the first a clinical finish having being slipped in by Tony Kroos and then a sublime clip from Isco's cross to give his side the lead.
Ronaldo, Kroos, Bale and Modric all started for Real as they looked to claw back some of the 17-point gap to Barcelona at the top of La Liga
Celta spurned a golden opportunity to level the game with 20 minutes to play when Aspas was brought down by Navas inside the box, but the Celta forward's weak penalty was kept out by the goalkeeper, who appeared to have encroached off his goal line.
But Real's luck didn't last. With eight minutes to go Pablo Hernandez dispossessed Marcelo and slipped in Aspas, who played a one-two with Wass and crossed for Gomez to rise and thump a header beyond Navas.
Man of the Match - Iago Aspas
The Celta forward performed with skill and industry throughout, harrying Real when out of possession and taking good care of the ball when his side won it back. His penalty was poor but the run he made to draw the foul from Navas was sublime, and his role in Gomez's equalizer was that of a true provider.
Real Madrid now face Numancia in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, while Celta move on to face Barcelona on Wednesday, also in the Copa del Rey.