La Liga: Kroos winner sees Real through, Altletico draw
Alvaro Morata, Toni Kroos score for defending champions but Celta Vigo impress in defeat.football Updated: Aug 28, 2016 12:22 IST
A late goal by Toni Kroos sealed victory as Real Madrid defeated an impressive Celta Vigo side 2-1 to win their first home La Liga game of the campaign on Saturday.
Atletico Madrid were held to a goalless draw at newcomers Leganes and already trail Real by four points while champions Barcelona visit Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
Alvaro Morata scored his first goal for Real since returning from Juventus to break the deadlock on the hour before Fabian Orellana levelled for Celta in the 67th minute.
Kroos then finished off substitute James Rodriguez’s cut- back with a low drive from the edge of the area in the 81st minute, giving his side six points from their two league matches.
“We were made to suffer against a team that were a lot better than I expected especially in attack,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane told a news conference.
“They caused problems for us on a few occasions but that’s normal...it’s never easy to win.”
Croatia playmaker Luka Modric rattled the bar and tested goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez with two other efforts from distance but Celta’s Theo Bogonda squandered the first clear opening, firing wide when John Guidetti was unmarked in the area.
Gareth Bale clipped the bar at the other end with a second- half free kick and the breakthrough arrived soon after.
Modric slipped a pass to Marco Asensio and the winger was thwarted by Alvarez, only for Morata to ram the loose ball into the net.
The former Juve forward almost grabbed a second goal a few minutes later when he latched on to a ball from Kroos and his effort bounced off the outside of the far post.
Celta then levelled following a crisp move between Daniel Wass, Guidetti and Orellana, the Chilean sending a rasping drive high beyond Casilla.
Zidane called on substitutes Rodriguez and Mariano Diaz and it was the out of favour Colombian, who started on the bench for the third game running, who made the difference as he chased down a loose ball on the right and slid it back for Kroos to score.
After facing repeated questions about Rodriguez’s future in recent weeks, Zidane praised the player’s display on Saturday and confirmed he would not be leaving Real before the transfer window closes.
“When you come on you have to make a difference and he got chances and did well,” said the Frenchman. “He’s going to stay here.”
Griezmann no good
The return of prolific striker Antoine Griezmann could not help Atletico break down Leganes.
Home keeper Jon Ander Serantes kept out efforts from the France international, Kevin Gameiro and Yannick Carrasco in an inspired display.
Atletico were involved in a thrilling three-pronged title race until the penultimate week of last season but have drawn both opening games against promoted sides, failing to win their first two matches for the first time under coach Diego Simeone.
“We have to get our act together because if we keep going like this we’ll be fighting to avoid relegation,” said Griezmann.
Elsewhere, Real Sociedad won 2-0 at promoted Osasuna thanks to a strike from new signing Juanmi and an own goal by Unai Garcia while Eibar beat Valencia 1-0 as Pedro Leon scored the only goal on the rebound after his penalty was saved.
Valencia striker Paco Alcacer was left out and is now expected to sign for Barcelona.
“Today he was not in an ideal situation to compete and we’ll see what happens in the next few days,” said coach Pako Ayesteran.