A Charles brace gave Celta Vigo a 2-0 win over Real Madrid, to sink Los Blancos’ title ambitions.
Carlo Ancelotti named an experimental line-up as Los Blancos conceded that the title was lost after Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Real Valladolid. Alvaro Morata led the line and Sami Khedira came back after seven months out, whilst the Celestes gave starts to Charles and Barcelona loanee Rafinha.
Despite the strange XI, it was the visitors who made the brighter start, enjoying a flurry of possession in the opening exchanges. Xabi Alonso was pulling the strings at the base of the midfield, and the Spain international almost made the goal that would have broken the deadlock. A teasing cross from the left found Morata, but his header was saved well by Sergio.
Luis Enrique’s men responded well to that bright Blancos start though, and came back with some possession of their own. Chances however, were at a premium, with Charles going closest after 15 minutes. A through ball from Rafinha found the striker, but his poorly struck shot went well wide.
The Balaidos outfit had their tails up at this point, and kept peppering Diego Lopez with efforts. Radinha however, couldn’t take full advantage of a good chance on the edge of the area, as the goalkeeper got down well to save.
It was great to see Khedira back after such a long lay-off following a cruciate ligament injury, and it was the German international who set up the best chance of the half for the capital outfit. A cross from the right was not cleared properly by Andreu Fontas, but Isco’s shot from inside the area missed the target.
The hosts were still impressing in wide area though despite the Champions League finalists being in town. And it was Nolito who looked most impressive, causing Alvaro Arbeloa all sorts of problems. The winger skipped past the former Liverpool man on 35 minutes to cross for Charles, but the Brazilian’s header went wide after pressure from Sergio Ramos.
Madrid were playing with fire though, and that eventually told with just three minutes of the half remaining. Ramos dallied on the ball on the edge of his own area, watched as Charles robbed the ball and rounded Diego Lopez before scoring.
After the break, Ancelotti’s men continued to go all-out for an equaliser and went close to getting it inside the opening five minutes. A Luke Modric corner first went to Khedira, who should have poked home, and then Modric himself should have netted after Marcelo’s low cross went to the Croatia international from 12 yards out.
They were made to rue that profligacy on 63 minutes however, as Charles grabbed his second of the match. A sloppy backpass from Alonso was intercepted by the Brazilian, and he tapped in past Lopez.
Celta Vigo 2-0 Real Madrid
Scorers: Charles 42, 63 (CV)
Celta Vigo: Sergio, Jonny, Cabral, Fontás, Aurtenetxe, Krohn-Dehli, Augusto (Lopez 61), Rafinha, Orellana, Nolito, Charles
Real Madrid: Diego López, Arbeloa (Coentrao 60), Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo, Xabi, Casemiro (Willian 72), Khedira (Illarra 60), Modric, Isco, Morata