Celta Vigo vs. Real Madrid: Final score 1-2, Madrid sees off a valiant Celta

Denis Doyle

Real Madrid weren't at their best but it was still enough to defeat a tough Celta Vigo side. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the match winner on a penalty kick after Kaka earned a somewhat dubious penalty against Javi Varas.

Cristiano Ronaldo's 71st minute penalty made the difference as Real Madrid survived a valiant effort from Celta Vigo and held on for a 2-1 victory at the Balaídos.

Considering everything that Real Madrid has been through over the past couple weeks I suppose a bit of a let down was allowed. Celta Vigo clearly came into the match with a solid plan and took the game to Madrid for the opening 30 minutes. The only problem of course is that they didn't score and the longer you let a talented side like Madrid settle in and remain in the game, the greater the chance that they'll finally score and beat you.

Case in point in the 32nd minute where Madrid didn't score but they came very close. Michael Essien was fouled Borja Oubiña giving Madrid a set piece outside the Celta area. Mesut Özil's free kick found Karim Benzema all alone in the middle of the box but he header went right at goalkeeper Javi Varas.

Madrid should have broke through in the 40th minute when Benzema found José Callejón on the right side of the Celta area with not a defender in sight. Credit goes to Varas for closing down on Callejón and blocking the shot away for a corner.

Varas picked up where he left off in the second half, keeping Celta Vigo in the match and Real Madrid off the scoreboard. In the 54th minute Özil found Benzema in space on the left side of the Celta box but his shot was neatly blocked away by Varas.

Varas had no chance to deny Benzema in the 59th minute but luckily for Celta the Madrid striker was offside and the goal was disallowed.

Less than two minutes later the dream was seemingly over as Cristiano Ronaldo finally broke through for Madrid. The initial Madrid corner was punched out of the box, only to be sent right back in. The ball bounced around for a moment before ending up right in front of Ronaldo who put the ball past Varas and gave Madrid the deserved 1-0 lead.

Game over right? Nope.

Augusto Fernández got behind the Madrid defense on a throw-in and into space near the touchline before sending the ball back across the penalty area. Iago Aspas was waiting and made a nice spin move after controlling the pass and hammered the ball off a Madrid defender, deflecting the ball right as Diego Lopez went left. Just like that it was 1-1.

In the 71st minute, Varas went from hero to goat after he tried to sweep the ball away from Kaka in the box after he'd gotten behind his defense. Instead, Varas made minimal contact but it was more than enough for Kaka to wilt to the ground and earn Madrid a penalty. Ronaldo calmly chipped his PK, sending Varas in the wrong direction, and putting Madrid back ahead 2-1.

It's a tough loss for Celta to take but if Paco Herrera can get that level of effort from his team for the rest of the season, they can definitely escape relegation.

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