Real Madrid empathically sealed their place at the top of Champions League Group F courtesy of a 5-1 victory over Celtic at Santiago Bernabeu.
After losing 3-2 at RB Leipzig the previous week, Los Blancos required a win on matchday six to guarantee their place at the summit, and they pulled it off in some fashion.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side needed just six minutes to take the lead, Luka Modric dispatching his penalty after Moritz Jenz handled inside the box.
Fifteen minutes later, the referee was pointing to the spot for handball once again. This time Matt O’Riley was the culprit, as Rodrygo got the nod to take the penalty with the same outcome as his team-mate.
Celtic had missed chances too and were given a golden opportunity to pull a goal back when the referee awarded them a penalty of their own for a David Alaba foul on Liel Abada. There was no beating Thibaut Courtois though as Josip Juranovic was denied from 12 yards.
Six minutes after the restart, Marco Asensio put the game beyond Celtic’s reach, and with the visitors crumbling, Vinicius Junior got amongst the goals, finishing Federico Valverde’s cross with aplomb before Federico Valverde made it five with a sweet strike.
With six minutes remaining, Jota curled in a sublime free-kick to finally give the travelling supporters something to cheer.
TALKING POINT – NAIVE CELTIC TAUGHT A LESSON IN FINISHING
Profligacy, the story of Celtic’s Champions League campaign. Hopes were high as the Scottish champions returned to Europe’s elite competition for the first time in five years, but with just two points in six games and four goals scored, it has all been a damp squib.
Against Real Madrid, Celtic again created chances, particularly in the first half, but were wasteful in front of goal. HThey had eight shots compared to Los Blancos’ 10. There is an obvious gulf in class but had Celtic converted one of their earlier opportunities – the penalty springs immediately to mind – there is a sense that they could have made a spectacle of their first visit to Santiago Bernabeu in over four decades.
Their naivety was laid bare as Celtic continued to throw players forward in attack rather than engage in a damage-limitation process, and in the end Real Madrid could have had seven or eight.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – LUKA MODRIC (REAL MADRID)
After setting the tempo by giving Real Madrid an early lead, the midfield magician proceeded to control the game with his supreme presence in the centre of the park.
Celtic: Hart 5, Juranovic 5, Starfelt 5, Jenz 5, Taylor 6, Mooy 6, Hatate 6, Abada 6, O’Riley 5, Maeda 5, Furuhashi 5.. subs: Giakoumakis 5, Haksabanovic 5, Turnbull 6, Jota 7, Abildgaard N/A.
Real Madrid: Courtois 7, Carvajal 7, Militao 6, Alaba 6, Mendy 6, Modric 8*, Kroos 6, Valverde 8, Asensio 7, Rodrygo 7, Vinicius Junior 7.. subs: Vallejo 5, Nacho 5, Benzema 5, Vazquez 5, Ceballos 5.
6’ – GOAL! REAL MADRID 1-0 CELTIC (LUKA MODRIC, PEN): Modric waits for Hart to dive before rolling the ball into the opposite side. Cool as you like. A perfect start for Los Blancos!
21’ – GOAL! REAL MADRID 2-0 CELTIC (RODRYGO, PEN): Rodrygo converts it with as much conviction as Modric did before him. Again, Hart dives the wrong way.
35’ – PENALTY SAVED! Juranovic steps up to take the spot-kick… and hits it at a nice height for Courtois to save!That just about sums up Celtic’s profligacy in this season’s Champions League.
51’ – GOAL! REAL MADRID 3-0 CELTIC (MARCO ASENSIO): Game over! Carvajal pulls the ball back to Asensio, whose half-volley may take a slight deflection as it nestles into the bottom corner.
61’ – GOAL! REAL MADRID 4-0 CELTIC (VINICIUS JUNIOR): Los Blancos are winning Group F in some fashion! It’s a terrific cross to the near post from Valverde, Vinicius Junior is on the move and finishes with aplomb.
71’ – GOAL! REAL MADRID 5-0 CELTIC (FEDERICO VALVERDE): A first-time side-footed effort from Valverde makes it five for Real Madrid, and this is getting embarrassing for Celtic.
84’ – GOAL! REAL MADRID 5-1 CELTIC (JOTA): A brilliant strike from Celtic’s No 17 gives the visiting fans something to cheer! Jota lifts his free-kick over the wall and it curls into the top corner. No clean sheet for Courtois, who got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out!