Real Madrid vs. Celta de Vigo  2 - 0


Karanka happy with strong Real squad

21 October 2012 02:11

Real Madrid assistant manager Aitor Karanka has hailed the club's strength in depth following their 2-0 victory at home to Celta Vigo.

Goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo secured the relatively comfortable win in what was a largely uninspiring performance at Santiago Bernabeu.

But Karanka was full of praise for his side, who provisionally climbed to fourth, eight points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona after eight matches.

"Everything was fine and well planned," he said. "It was a good defensive performance; all of the defenders have been very good throughout.

"Celta at the end were very dangerous and they threatened our full backs. Sergio (Ramos) on one flank had an excellent game and (Raphael) Varane always does well when he plays. Pepe was also excellent as usual."

Manager Jose Mourinho started playmakers Luka Modric, Xabi Alonso and Mesut Ozil alongside each other, ensuring his side dominated possession throughout the contest.

"There are players like Modric, Xabi Alonso and Ozil that are essential when you are building your team," Karanka said.

"You know that you can rely on these players to perform and can plan which games you play them together.

"When you are starting with these players you get a lot more possession.

"I was sad for (Sami) Khedira who missed out. It was a pity he was injured because he is in great form, but the good thing is the strength in depth we have as a squad."


La Liga wrap: Barca win nine-goal thriller

21 October 2012 01:37

Barcelona extended their unbeaten run in La Liga to 12 matches with a remarkable 5-4 victory at Deportivo de La Coruna on Saturday.

Goals from Jordi Alba, CristianTello and Lionel Messi handed the visitors a three-goal advantage after 20 minutes before Pizzi reduced the deficit with a penalty.

Deportivo midfielder Alex Bergantinos then beat Victor Valdes with a volley from distance, and Messi brought up the sixth goal of the opening half with a low finish shortly before the break.

Pizzi grabbed his second goal with a brilliant free-kick shortly after half-time, while Barcelona lost Javier Mascherano to a second bookable offence following an altercation with Riki.

Messi completed his hat-trick with an explosive run and finish in the 77th minute, but there was more drama as Alba sent a volley past his own goalkeeper to reduce the margin to one goal.

But Barcelona held on, maintaining their position on top with seven wins and one draw.

Elsewhere, goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo earned Real Madrid a relatively comfortable 2-0 win at home to Celta Vigo.

Madrid dominated possession throughout the match, enabling Higuain and Ronaldo to find the net in what was a largely forgettable encounter at Santiago Bernabeu.

Valencia came from behind to clinch a thrilling 3-2 win at home to 10-man Athletic Bilbao.

Aduriz opened the scoring for the visitors in the 19th minute, though Valencia levelled proceedings seven minutes later when Soldado converted a penalty.

Aduriz netted his second goal in the 30th minute and Bilbao seemed on course for victory before Ander Herrera was shown a straight red card on 60 minutes.

The visitors did their best to fight off repeated attacks, but were beaten when Alberto Costa struck in the 88th minute and Nelson Haedo Valdez netted the winner in stoppage time.

Earlier, goals from Isco and Joaquin saw Malaga clinch a 2-1 come-from-behind win at home to Real Valladolid, who had goal scorer Manucho Goncalves sent off with nine minutes to go.


Herrera primed for Real threat

20 October 2012 05:08

Paco Herrera believes the current Real Madrid squad is the strongest ever and has pointed out their main threats.

The Celta Vigo coach will head to the Santiago Bernabeu with his squad on Saturday evening knowing the enormity of the task.

Even though Jose Mourinho's side have been hit with a lengthy injury list, Harrera does not think it will affect them.

"This is the best Real Madrid in history," he said.

"Last year they were the top scorers, they beat you by knockout. This year they have started differently but they are recovering their style."

The 58-year-old then reeled off a list of potential hazards to his team's target of leaving Madrid with a surprise victory.

"They have the best goalkeeper in the world, Iker Casillas, the best central defender, Sergio Ramos, and one of the best central midfielders, Xabi Alonso," he said.

"Cristiano Ronaldo? That's different, him and Lionel Messi are the two best."


La Liga preview: Real battling injuries ahead of Celta clash

19 October 2012 13:44

Real Madrid's title challenge has taken a further hit as Jose Mourinho deals with numerous injuries heading into a clash with Celta Vigo.

The defending La Liga champions find themselves in an unfamiliar fifth on the La Liga table after seven matches, eight points adrift of leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, who are both on 19 points.

Having produced a high-quality 2-2 draw in the Clasico against Barcelona the week prior to the international break, many would see Saturday night's home clash against 12th-placed Celta Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu as something of a certainty for Mourinho's side.

But with defenders Marcelo, Alvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Coentrao injured on international duty, along with forwards Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain, the match may prove more of a headache for Mourinho than first expected.

Marcelo's injury is the worst of them with the left-back breaking his metatarsal in training for Brazil, forcing him out of the side until next year while Coentrao will miss a month with a groin problem and Arbeloa three weeks with a hamstring strain.

Higuain was substituted out of Argentina's 2-1 win over Chile with an ankle knock while Benzema limped out of France's draw with Spain, although both forwards appear likely to play this weekend.

If Real Madrid do happen to slip-up against Celta, it gives Barcelona and Atletico the opportunity to extend their leads at the top of the table.

Barcelona travel to take on struggling Deportivo La Coruna (18th) on Saturday night as Atletico head north to play Real Sociedad (12th) in Sunday's late encounter.

Having fallen to a dramatic 2-1 loss to Atletico in the last round - Atletico's winner came courtesy of an injury-time own goal from Weligton - third-placed Malaga will be looking to hit back when they host Real Valladolid (eighth) on Saturday, while the other match that night will be between Valencia (14th) and Athletic Bilbao (16th) as both sides search for their third win this the campaign.

Fourth-placed Real Betis, meanwhile, will be looking to build some winning momentum as they take on the struggling Osasuna (19th) on Sunday, with Betis' 2-0 win over Real Sociedad before the international fixtures, snapping a run of consecutive losses for the side.

Mallorca (sixth) will also be looking to bounce back after losing at home in their last game when the island club travels to Sevilla for Monday night's encounter, although the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan should be a particularly hostile place as Sevilla look to bounce back from their last-up loss to Celta Vigo.

Elsewhere, Getafe (ninth) and Levante (11th) will both be looking for their fourth wins, while Rayo Vallecano (10th) will aim to pile more misery on winless Espanyol (20th) in their clash on Sunday.

And finally Granada (15th) and Real Zaragoza (17th) will both be looking to climb clear of the relegation zone when they kick-off on Sunday afternoon.


Nacho ready to step up for Real

19 October 2012 06:32

Real Madrid defender Nacho says that he is ready to step up to the first team for Saturday's clash against Celta Vigo.

The Spanish giants have lost a number of players due to injuries picked up over the international break, including Marcelo, Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa.

Coach Jose Mourinho has few options available to him when his team host the Celta Vigo this weekend and he may be forced to turn to 22-year-old Nacho.

The Castilla player is officially part of the first team this season, however, he is still yet to play in this year's La Liga.

Nevertheless, with first-team choices unavailable, the self-assured starlet believes this is his chance to prove himself.

"I am training during the whole year with the first team, the coach knows me and I am working hard so when I get the chance to prove myself, I will. I have spent much time with the first team and I have the right motivation," he said.

Normally a central defender, the right-footed Nacho has no qualms about playing at left-back, the position where he actually made his debut for Real during Mourinho's first season at the club.

"I play in the centre, but I have also played many times at full-back. I have no problems playing wherever the coach wants me to. I am right-handed, however, I can still play on the left," he said.

Nacho's one and only appearance for the first team this season was in the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy against Columbia's Millonarios, which the Spaniards convincingly won 8-0.

La Liga table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +75 100
2 38 +61 85
3 38 +34 76
4 38 +21 66
5 38 +13 65
6 38 +3 57
7 38 +1 56
8 38 -16 53
9 38 +4 50
10 38 -14 47
11 38 -17 46
12 38 -21 45
13 38 -9 44
14 38 -9 43
15 38 -17 42
16 38 -17 39
17 38 -15 37
18 38 -29 36
19 38 -23 35
20 38 -25 34