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Real Madrid survive Celtic scares to run out comfortable winners

Real Madrid survive Celtic scares to run out comfortable winners

Real Madrid have begun their latest Champions League title defence with a 3-0 victory over Celtic in Glasgow this evening.

Second-half goals from Vinicius Junior, Luka Modric and Eden Hazard saw Los Blancos ultimately run out convincing winners, although they did not always have things as easy as the scoreline suggests.

Roared on by a raucous home crowd in their first Champions League group game for five years, Celtic started brightly and Real Madrid were forced to withstand an early siege from the hosts, who hit the post through Callum McGregor.

However, the 14-time champions showed all of their European experience to weather the storm before taking the game away from Ange Postecoglou’s side with two goals in the space of less than four minutes.

It was not a perfect night for the Spanish giants as they lost star striker Karim Benzema to a knee injury in the first half, although his replacement Eden Hazard scored one and created another to help Madrid to the victory.

It could have all been different had Celtic made the most of their fast start, with Liel Abada, Jota and Reo Hatate all threatening Thibaut Courtois‘s goal inside the opening 20 minutes.

Carlo Ancelotti‘s men then had the woodwork to thank when McGregor crashed his shot against the inside of the post, and Madrid began to grow into the game more after that.

Benzema’s withdrawal was a blow that they will be hoping is not too serious, but even without their talismanic striker they threatened through Federico Valverde, Hazard and Vinicius before half time.

There was another huge chance for Celtic at the start of the second half when Daizen Maeda failed to get enough on his scuffed finish from close range just minutes after coming on at the break, and that proved to be the final let-off that Real Madrid needed.

Vinicius clinically tucked home a low Dani Carvajal cross first time 11 minutes after the interval, scoring in a fourth successive match for the first time in his Real Madrid career.

Thirty-six-year-old Modric then added a second moments later when he fired past Joe Hart with the outside of his boot after good work from Hazard, the Croatian becoming the third-oldest player to score a European Cup/Champions League goal for Los Blancos behind only legendary duo Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano.

Hazard then capped off the scoring with his first Champions League goal since November 2020, applying a simple finish after Caravajal’s knock back across goal.

More to follow.

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