Real Madrid lose at Celta de Vigo
Today, at the Estadio Balaidos, visiting Spanish Football giant Real Madrid lost to hosts Celta Vigo 0-2. The Madrid team, third on the La Liga table, was on a minor mission today, their major objective was off by a few weeks.
Mid-table Celta Vigo were supposed to be no match for the likes of Real, but they were the more disciplined side and committed less mistakes. In the end the game revolved around too lapses on Real's side.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Angel di Maria, Pepe and Gareth Bale, did not start and all but the last did not suit up. Carlo Ancelotti was taking no chances with his team's drive for the Decima Champions League trophy and was basically conceding that his odds in La Liga were poor.
The match, which was relatively clean, with only one yellow card by half time, was tilted toward Madrid with a 61-39% possession advantage. But the chances seemed even in terms of danger if not success.
Then, at the 43rd minute Sergio Ramos decided to play with the ball at the edge of the box and was dispossessed by Brazilian striker Charles who easily beat Diego Lopez with a high boomer from inside the box that found nothing but net. Celta Vigo 1, Madrid 0.
The halftime whistle blew not a minute too soon for both sides--Real who needed to regroup and figure out what it wanted to achieve and Celta who wanted to reach the locker room ahead.
The second half was similar to the first with a Celta Vigo side that seemed well grounded and motivated and a Real that often seemed like it was simply going through the paces. The yellows did double in this half and at times the match got ragged, but the hosts were by far the more determined.
At the 63rd minute it was Charles again this time with a wicked right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the center of the goal. Now it was 2-0 and Madrid seemed no closer to scoring than they did in the first half.
"We are obviously disappointed we have been eliminated from the La Liga chase, the first trophy pursuit we have been eliminated from, but we will compete next week and then focus on the Champions League," said Real coach, Carlo Acelotti in the post-game press conference. He seemed genuinely disappointed to be out of the running, but he certainly had only one game in mind all match long, the one in Lisbon.
Barcelona draw with Elche
Sunday's game at the Martinez Valero Stadium pitted visiting Spanish Football giants FC Barcelona against relegation-threatened minnows Elche CF. The game ended 0-0 and gave the hosts a well earned point to keep them floating above the relegation zone. Meanwhile Barcelona were losing a golden opportunity.
Lionel Messi was playing well, and his entourage was keeping the Elche side mostly bottled up most of the game. Chances aplenty ensued but none found the net as Elche goalkeeper Manu Herrera and his defenders played the game of their season.
For Barcelona, Neymar was resting up (or recuperating from injury) as were Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, and Jordi Alba, who could be seen in the stands as the game progressed below.
The game was mostly unremarkable in that the halves were mirror images with both teams replicating both the manner of possession and the ineffectual attacking. At game's end the draw was the only fair and logical outcome.