Real Madrid battles Celta Vigo to 2-2 draw


Madrid, Feb 17 (IANS): A fabulous pass by Denis Suarez to Santi Mina for an on-the-road goal for Celta Vigo just four minutes before the final whistle mangled Real Madrid's hopes of emerging from contest with a sixth consecutive win, once again showing in the 2-2 result the fragile defence -- and some outright lapses -- that had resulted in the capital squad's elimination from the Copa del Rey.

The Sunday's match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium before some 72,000 fans started off with a stunning tally just seven minutes into play, when the visiting Celta team's Fedor Smolov scored his first goal for the side, reports Efe news.

Iago Aspas sent the ball to Smolov, who worked his way between Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal, and deftly placed it right past Madrid goaltender Thibaut Courtois to get Celta on the board.

Compounding the developing problem for Zinedine Zidane's boys was the fact that they were unable to put together the proper combination to achieve a single shot on goal during the entire first half.

The visitors almost got a second goal just before the break when Lucas Olaza sent a corner kick to Joseph Aidoo, who tried a header only to be stymied by Courtois, who threw out both hands to make the save.

After the intermission, it was another story, with the capital squad coming out with redemption on their mind -- and angling for the victory, although that was not to be -- and initially it was the still-struggling Gareth Bale feeding one to Ramos, who fired it home only to have the tally denied by the VAR.

But the hosts didn't have to wait long for the equaliser, with Germany's Toni Kroos finding the twine in the 52nd minute after Marcelo knocked the ball to him.

Eden Hazard, formerly of Chelsea but now back on the pitch for Madrid, was tripped in the 65th minute by Celta goaltender Ruben Blanco, whereupon team captain Ramos fired the go-ahead shot into the net on the penalty kick.

But Celta coach Oscar Garcia put Denis Suarez into the mix in the 70th minute for Smolov and sent it to Mina, who notched his equalising tally just two minutes after coming onto the pitch in the 83rd minute for Bradaric.

The draw keeps Real Madrid on top of the La Liga table, albeit just one point ahead of Barcelona. The capital team will next go up against Levante and then face off in their big European duel against Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie.

  

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