Santiago Solari continues to rebuild Real Madrid

Posted Monday, November 12, 2018 by PA

Santiago Solari continues to rebuild Real Madrid

Real Madrid won 4-2 at Celta Vigo to boost Santiago Solari’s hopes of becoming Los Blancos manager on a full-time basis.

The in-form Karim Benzema fired Real into a first-half lead and a Gustavo Cabral own goal doubled the advantage.

Celta responded with a wonderful Hugo Mallo volley as the Galicians’ mounted a second-half revival.

But Sergio Ramos’ cheeky penalty and a late Dani Ceballos stunner settled matters before Celta – who had Cabral sent off in the closing stages – had the last word through Brais Mendez’s deflected drive.

Real’s victory trimmed the advantage of LaLiga leaders Barcelona – surprisingly beaten earlier 4-3 at home by Real Betis – to four points and gave Solari a fourth successive win since succeeding Julen Lopetegui last month.

Spanish league rules mean caretaker managers cannot be in charge of a club for more than 14 days.

After that time, the temporary boss must be made permanent if they are to continue in the role – and it will be exactly two weeks on Monday since Solari was put in charge.

Santiago Solari continues to rebuild Real Madrid
Sergio Ramos converted a late penalty (Lalo R. Villar/AP)

Real made a fast start and Benzema went close twice in the opening moments, forcing a fine stop from Sergio Alvarez and then almost profiting from a Gareth Bale long throw.

Bale then failed to direct Lucas Vasquez’s cross goalwards as the ball was just too high for him.

Real suffered a blow when Casemiro limped off after 18 minutes, the Brazilian midfielder unable to run off an earlier ankle injury and was replaced by Ceballos.

Celta struck the post within seconds of Casemiro’s departure when Okay Yokuslu rose superbly to meet Mendez’s corner and Ramos was on hand to clear.

Real made the most of that let-off by taking a 23rd-minute lead as Luka Modric spotted the run of Benzema and Celta paid the price for trying to play offside.

Benzema took a delightful touch with his back to goal before turning and finishing confidently for his fourth goal under Solari.

The France international posed a threat every time he was near the ball and he headed over a Sergio Reguilon cross under pressure at the far post.

Benzema then set up Toni Kroos but the Germany midfielder sent his side-footed effort over a gaping goal.

Santiago Solari continues to rebuild Real Madrid
Hugo Mallo got Vigo back in the match (Lalo R. Villar/AP)

Celta rallied before the break and Mendez’s firm shot brought a fine diving save from Thibaut Courtois in the Real goal.

That opportunity lifted the home side and Iago Aspas should have levelled from Maxi Gomez’s cross straight after the restart but sent his header wide.

Benzema was soon in the thick of the action again and he went past two Celta defenders before striking the crossbar with a curling effort.

There was no reprieve for Celta, though, as sloppy defending let Benzema in after 56 minutes. His shot hit the legs of Alvarez and struck a post before going into the net off the unfortunate Cabral.

Celta fought back undeterred and Mallo volleyed home Mendez’s pass before Courtois prevented parity by pushing out a well-struck Aspas effort.

But Real were given breathing space seven minutes from time when David Junca felled Alvaro Odriozola and Ramos chipped his penalty down the middle.

Cabral was sent off after receiving a second yellow card three minutes from time, and Ceballos lashed home a beauty in stoppage time before Mendes came up with a Celta consolation.




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