Vigo, Spain, Aug 20 (EFE).- Luka Modric and Vinicius Jr. each had a goal and an assist here Saturday to lead Real Madrid 4-1 over Celta in a match that was not as lopsided as the score would indicate.
The reigning LaLiga champions are level with Real Betis and Osasuna at 6 points, but the Blancos sit in first place by virtue of scoring more goals, while Celta remain in pursuit of their first victory of the young season.
The hosts came out with a high press that neutralized the Real Madrid attack and the Blancos appeared to be missing the balance in midfield formerly provided by Casemiro, sold Friday to Manchester United
But the picture brightened for the visitors in the 13th minute, when a VAR review led to the award of a penalty for a hand ball by Celta’s Renato Tapia.
Karim Benzema converted with his customary aplomb to give Real Madrid the lead, yet Celta continued to set the pace and pulled level in the 23rd minute with a goal of their own from the spot after a hand ball by Eder Militao.
Though Blancos keeper Thibaut Courtois guessed correctly about the placement, Iago Aspas put too much on the shot for the Belgian to be able to stop it.
Both Franco Cervi and Gonçalo Paciencia came close to putting the hosts ahead before Modric transformed the game with a tremendous goal in the 41st minute.
Up 2-1, Real Madrid sought to slow the tempo in the second half, yet a miscue by Ferland Mendy set up a Paciencia strike that grazed the post, giving the supporters at Vigo’s Abanca Balaidos stadium hope for a comeback.
Those hopes were dented in the 56th minute, when Vini beat keeper Agustin Marchesin after taking a superb pass from Modric, but Celta pressed on and Joseph Aidoo sent a header just over the Real Madrid cross-bar in the 64th.
Two minutes later, Fede Valverde made it 4-1 with an assist from Vini.
Late sub Eden Hazard had a chance to extend the advantage from the spot after Hugo Mallo pulled down Benzema in the area, but Marchesin saved it. EFE