It won't be long before Cristiano Ronaldo is declared public enemy number one in Vigo. He had already proved Celta's nemesis when the teams met in the Copa del Rey: the Galicians were winning the first leg 2-0 when the Portuguese forward found a goal to drag Madrid - in the midst of a crisis that lasted for weeks - back into the tie single-handedly. In the return leg at the Santiago Bernabéu, he scored a hit-track. On Sunday night, he was again Real's hit-man in a game which Celta started and ended well, gave a good account of themselves and looked dangerous in front of goal. However, Abel Resino's men lacked self-belief against their illustrious rivals, and this proved to be their undoing.
'Los Celestes' began the match superbly. Within ten minutes, they had drawn four saves (two good, two exceptional) from visiting goalkeeper Diego López. Their defence was also on its game, employing the offside trap admirably. Everything was under control. Yet as soon as 'Los Blancos' woke from their slumbers and began to threaten in attack, Celta shrank back too much. They set up camp in their area and looked to keeper Javi Varas to deny Real until half-time. Madrid looked good technically but lacked the surging attacks that so greatly favour their game; nevertheless, they carved out a number of opportunities.
In the second half, the sporting gods punished Celta coach Resino for breaking the golden rule of football: never make a substitution when you're defending a corner. The home side fought back immediately with a goal from the phenomenal Iago Aspas, and for the remainder of the 90 minutes Celta again played with courage and created chances (Diego López blotted his spotless first-half copybook with a couple of mistakes). Meanwhile, Real continued to attack and Kaká - his quickness of foot once again on display - earned a penalty to rescue the away side. Celta pressed for an equaliser, but without reward. Real are now finding a way to win the games which had previously seen them come unstuck - and their form is such that they have even overtaken Atlético in second place.