Celta Vigo vs Real Madrid. Spanish La Liga.
Monday 27 April 2015 10:52, UK
Real Madrid responded to Barcelona's Saturday success by beating Celta Vigo 4-2 on Sunday.
Needing a win to move back to within two points of the Primera Division leaders, Carlo Ancelotti's men fell behind early but, boosted by a brace from man of the moment Javier Hernandez, got the job done.
Nolito put Celta ahead before Toni Kroos and Hernandez nudged Real in front. Santi Mina equalised but James Rodriguez got the European champions into a lead which would then be improved by Hernandez's second.
Real host Almeria in midweek while Barcelona are at home to Getafe, and the chances are they will go like-for-like again, but Ancelotti's side at least showed they are in the fight with this come-from-behind win.
Knowing that any slip-up would likely serve a terminal blow to their title chances, Real got off to the worst possible start.
Just nine minutes were on the clock when Nolito opened the scoring. On a break forward, the ball fell to him and, with Real caught short as Sergio Ramos got back in line missing a boot, Nolito drilled in beyond Iker Casillas.
It took only nine minutes for Real to reply, though. Cristiano Ronaldo linked up with Dani Carvajal who got to the byline and, when his cut-back was cleared, the ball fell to Kroos who opened his body and stroked in from just inside the box.
Hernandez then took centre stage. Having scored the vital goal in the Champions League quarter-final win over Atletico on Wednesday, the Manchester United loanee was in the right place again to produce a finish from a tight angle, beating Sergio Alvarez from the right side of the six-yard box.
If Real thought that was that they were mistaken, as Celta came back at them and levelled with 28 minutes on the clock.
Mina broke through the middle and raced clear, only to see his effort beat Casillas and hit the post. The 19-year-old was alert to the loose ball, though, and was able to tuck it away for 2-2.
It was shaping up as a tough night for the capital club, but it was they who led at the break as Rodriguez got his 11th league goal of the season two minutes before the break.
Ronaldo, not on the scoresheet for once and having just hit the post, played the provider, taking in Isco's flick and rolling a pass across the box, left to right, to the Colombian. He cut inside to improve his angle and unleashed a left-footed hit that ballooned off the leg of defender Andreu Fontas and beat Sergio.
The crucial timing of the goal hurt Celta but they returned to the front foot after the break, going close when Hugo Mallo drove over from a tight angle.
The home side thought they had legitimate claims for a penalty too, when Kroos appeared to clatter into Fabian Orellana, but no decision in their favour was coming.
And after that, their race was run, with Hernandez finishing them off with 21 minutes left as he ran onto Ramos' outside-of-the-boot pass and finished calmly.