Without a win in their last two Champions League games, Los Blancos need a positive result to progress as a winning team against RB Leipzig. One goal per word Luka ModricRodrygo, Marco AsensioVinicius Junior, and Federico Valverde make sure the whites don’t have to rely on Leipzig results to win their group. Jota scored the only goal for Celtic on Wednesday night.
Real Madrid started the game brilliantly and won the penalty after just 5 minutes of play. After Celtic keeper Joe Hart save Rodrygo’s shot, Valverde followed with a rebound. The Uruguayan’s shot hit the ground and hit Moritz Jenz’s outstretched arm, prompting the referee to point at the field. Modric finished the mistake from the penalty spot to put Real Madrid ahead.
In the 19th minute, Vinicius Junior looked to double the lead for Madrid with a ball from the far corner, but Hart made it too big and blocked the Brazilian’s shot. Unfortunately for him, his team conceded a second free kick a minute later, again due to handball. Rodrygo took the second penalty, Hart’s mistake to double his team’s advantage.
Before the half-hour mark, the goalkeeper of Los Blancos Thibaut Courtois have been called to action a few times, with Reo Hatate and Kyogo Furuhashi trying their luck. Their shots were comfortably collected by Courtois.
In the 33rd minute, Ferland Mendy fouled Liel Abada, causing the referee to blow a penalty for Celtic. Josip Juranovic crossed to make it but his effort wasn’t good enough to beat Courtois.
Asensio and Vinicius Junior scored two beautiful goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half, giving Madrid a 4-0 lead. Celtic forwards Georgios Giakoumakis and Hatate made two stunning saves from Courtois before Valverde scored the fifth goal of the game in the 71st minute.
The best moment of the game came for Celtic in the 84th minute when the Portuguese Jota hit a free-kick that knocked Courtois down. The Scottish side, bottom of Group F with two points, pushed another point in the final moments, but the hosts masterfully neutralized their threat.
Here are five Real Madrid players who stood out in Wednesday’s 5-1 win over Celtic:
#5 Vinicius Junior
Los Blancos poster boy Vinicius Junior didn’t have an easy night on Wednesday. Celtic overload their right wing more often than not shielding their left wingers, and they have succeeded on many occasions.
However, the Brazilian was not one of those discouraged by the away team’s determination. In the end, he got his goal in the 61st minute, prepared a great run to beat his man and applied the finish after Valverde’s cross. Off target, Vinicius Junior played two key passes, won three of four duels and completed two dribbles.
#4 Luka Modric
The most experienced Real Madrid player on the pitch on Wednesday, Luka Modric, was in his best form against Scotland. The Croatian extended the game with his long balls, controlled the tempo with his passes, fulfilled his defensive duties and scored Madrid’s opening goal from the penalty spot.
The former Tottenham Hotspur central midfielder passed six long balls accurately, made 69 passes (89.6% accuracy rate) and won two-thirds of the duels on Wednesday night. Dani Ceballos came on for Croat in the 66th minute.
No. 3 Thibaut Courtois
Although the scores suggest otherwise, Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was busier than Celtic goalkeeper Hart on Wednesday. His most memorable save of the night came in the 35th minute when he denied Josip Juranovic from the penalty spot.
The Celtic man took power on position, aiming for the right side of the Courtois grid. The Los Merengues keeper read the direction of the shot and made a powerful save with his right hand. Courtois made a total of seven saves on Wednesday, including three from inside the box. He also made 29 accurate passes (85.3% accuracy rate) and correctly made 3 long balls.
#2 Marco Asensio
Rare start in Karim BenzemaMarco Asensio’s absence made for a memorable performance. His distribution was phenomenal, he created opportunity after opportunity, and scored a neat goal in the 51st minute to triple the lead for his team.
He dashes into the box from the right, connects superbly with Carvajal’s payload, and guides it past the helpless Hart. The Spaniard also played five important passes, completing 64 passes (94% accuracy rate), passing two long balls accurately and three interceptions. It was easily Asensio’s best performance of the 2022-23 campaign.
No. 1 Federico Valverde
Real Madrid’s best player at the moment, Federico Valverde, looks like a live game at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday. He makes strong runs, keeps track, scores goals, is a great long-distance runner and claims an assist.
In the 61st minute, Valverde himself owned the ball on the right wing of the Celtic goal. He spotted Vinicius Junior’s run and made a low cross into the area. The Brazilian winger gently cushioned the ball into the home net to double his team’s advantage. Ten minutes after assisting Vinicius Junior, Valverde scored on his own, scoring with his foot from outside the box.
In addition to two goals, Valverde made four key passes, made three precise crosses and created a big chance. He also made three interceptions, tried to handle and won a duel.