To jerks, but Madrid has a rope with LaLiga. He showed it in Vigo, where he parked the fetishist European Cup to resist in the domestic tournament and cross his fingers for a skid by Atlético and Barça. In Balaídos a motley royal emerged. First, with the game caught by the lapel, on the shoulders of Benzema, author of two goals and a conclusive assist. Later, with more studs, held by people like Nacho, one of those recruits always present when there are emergencies at the ranch. In front, a Celta who only floated at the rival’s whim in the first section and later lacked shrapnel.
Celta is a faldicorto team. His payroll sounds good —Iago Aspas, Denis, Nolito, Mina, Brais …—, but with little bone behind and little hook in the forefront. Lots of playdough. It was warned again against Real Madrid, which made him abdicate during the first half hour. Until then, the matter was a matter for Kroos and Benzema, the great bisector of the Madridistas in their toll through Vigo.
Recreativo, Real was at ease, with its stiff rival, when Kroos filtered a pass for Benzema, who scrambled inside the area and left the ball in a corner of the net. Benzema, a plastic surgeon like few others. Not a word had said Coudet’s painting, with the air of an altar boy, without nerve. And what is worse: without the ball, that in a team like Celta is the only sustenance.
Madrid’s authority was absolute. Zidane’s team played solitaire. Without many alerts against Villar, but with sufficiency: sewn ball and rivals far, far away, from Courtois’s radar. Lacking scaffolding, Celta soon conceded the 0-2. Yes, another local grace. Murillo, who does not have silk feet, entangled Tapia, self-sacrificing, but who is not Nureyev either. Kroos, scoundrel and rolled up, swiped the ball to meet again with his colleague Benzema: 0-2. Monoculture of the Real, supported by the general firmness and the keys of Kroos and Benzema.
But Madrid has leaks. There are few times that he plays on the Ferris wheel. In the seesaw, this time it gave life to the celestial set. The duel was a walk for the visitors. It is true that Madrid was as governor as it was not a hitter, since only a blow from the chest by Vinicius was sandwiched between Benzema’s goals. It didn’t matter, in Balaídos only Real had a clue. But he left the contest and gave keys to Celta, who have them. Iago Aspas put Mina into orbit, who misfired a complex spur finish. Immediately, with the Madrid behind in the dark, Denis launched a foul and Mina capitulated to the rear of Zidane, without lining before the solo header of the Galician striker.
Celta offered the invitation to the Madrid match. Act two arrived and it was something else. From Kroos to Denis Suárez. From a Real abrasive to a more spasmodic match. From a resounding Madrid to a tart Madrid. And another Celta, already to his. And his thing is the ball. Without such a gift, the uncover betrays him. It is woven for the game at the foot, not for a Vietnamese ambush. Faced with an already blurred Real, the Vigo team had more protocol. Of course, until the balcony of the merengue goal, where he barely peeked out.
No alarms against Courtois, but when Real went further astray, to which the ball suddenly curled into a ball, Zidane surprised. The Frenchman ordered the withdrawal of Kroos – for whom the ball is never an artifact – for the benefit of Asensio. From the starting 4-4-2, with Valverde as outside on the right, to a 4-3-3 with Asensio and Vinicius as fans on the sides.
The game on the edge, on the wire. Vinicius could not liquidate him in a very Vinicius adventure and he was almost related to Iago Aspas. The referee sentenced Modric for a lack without fail to Tapia. Aspas put the lever and Casemiro focused the defensive play of the table. With all the intention in the world, he drew his pole into the barrier and deflected the pitch with his head. Enough for the shot to crash into the post to Courtois’s right. Without the guard Casemiro it was goal or goal.
That’s where the Celta stayed: onlooker from the start and showy without fists later. And until the end, Madrid was on edge: spring and very painterly from the beginning with Kroos and Benzema as helmsmen and confused and anchored by Nacho and his comrades in the last section. There was still a puff of possible intrigue when the scorer Benzema sent the messenger Benzema. He escaped down the left and made Asensio happy, this week an improvised last-minute scorer. There is still Madrid in this League. Benzema is going the march. Serious thing.