Toni Kroos stole the show with a spectacular side-footer as Real Madrid narrowly defeated Celta Vigo 2-1 in La Liga on Saturday.
Modric returned to the Madrid XI after he sat out a suspension and James Rodriguez was said to have been included in a Blancos matchday squad for the final time as Celta quartet Sergi Gomez, Mariano Diaz, Pione Sisto and Iago Aspas made way for Gustavo Cabral, Nemanja Radoja, Pablo Hernandez and John Guidetti.
Madrid quickly dominated possession, but Celta made sure they were tough to break down as Modric, just outside the visitors’ D, got off the game’s first shot, although the Croat’s low effort was easily saved by Sergio Alvarez.
Bongonda then found himself away in the clear as the Madrid defence parted like the Red Sea, but the winger swerved his shot into side-netting instead of teeing up Guidetti as Marcelo was later forced to clear a cross away from his own goal after Kiko Casilla had been beaten at his near post.
Still, the best chance of the first half fell to Modric, who skipped past his opponent down the right and cut inside, before blasting a thunderous drive onto the crossbar, with Alvarez stranded in the goal-mouth.
Madrid’s struggles continued into the second half as Alvarez did all he could to keep Celta in the game, having wonderfully tipped over a Bale free kick among a string of other saves.
Los Blancos finally broke the deadlock on the hour mark, however, when Bale turned his marker in the Celta box and allowed Asensio to sneak onto the ball, one-on-one with Alvarez. The goalkeeper blocks the midfielder’s effort but couldn’t do anything about Morata’s rebound.
Neither could Alvarez do anything about Morata’s dinked finish across his goal and onto the far post, yet Casilla was equally helpless to prevent Fabian Orellana’s lovely strike fly past him after the midfielder was perfectly played in from the left.
With time ticking, Zinedine Zidane made the bold decision of bringing off Morata and giving James a shot, and the Colombian at least injected some flair into Madrid’s attacks, even if it seemed to be one of those nights when an unmarked Bale could only head straight at Alvarez in the penalty area.
Nonetheless, Kroos pulled a much-needed rabbit out of the hat for Madrid as he delicately side-footed an effort from distance onto the post and past Alvarez 10 minutes from time to ensure maximum points after two matches for the boys in white.
Real Madrid 2-1 Celta Vigo
Morata 60, Kroos 81 (RM) Orellana 67 (CV)
Real Madrid: Casilla; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Modric (James 69) , Casemiro; Bale, Morata (Mariano 77), Asensio (Vazquez 65)
Celta Vigo: Alvarez; Mallo, Roncaglia, Cabral, Jonny; Wass (Diop 77), Radoja (Sisto 85); Hernandez, Orellana, Bongonda; Guidetti (Aspas 73)
Referee: De Burgos Bengoetxea