Marco Asensio and Eder Militao ensured there was no Champions League hangover for Real Madrid as Carlo Ancelotti’s side scored a comfortable 2-0 win over Celta Vigo in LaLiga.
Buoyed by a 2-0 win over Chelsea in London that secured a place in the European semi-finals, it was back to the grind of domestic league duties on Saturday.
A glamorous semi-final against Manchester City awaits Madrid next month, after a Copa del Rey final clash with Osasuna, but in the league Los Blancos have been off the pace this season.
They trimmed Barcelona’s lead at the top to eight points with this win, secured by Asensio’s strike late in the first half and Militao’s header soon after the break. Curiously, this was a fourth successive 2-0 victory for Madrid.
Aurelien Tchouameni headed waywardly from an early chance for the hosts, before Karim Benzema took aim from 25 yards and found row Z.
Asensio had a shot deflect over the Celta bar and Nacho ripped a strike over the angle of post and crossbar as pressure grew and the men in white swarmed.
Madrid were missing the midfield brains trust of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, both rested to the bench, but they broke through in the 42nd minute when Vinicius Junior’s low cross from the left was clipped into the right corner by Asensio. It was his eighth goal of the league campaign and a seventh assist for Vinicius.
A thumping header from Militao doubled Madrid’s lead in the 48th minute as he darted in to convert Asensio’s inswinging corner from the right.
Iago Aspas squandered a chance to trim the lead as he shot over the Madrid bar, before Benzema almost made it 3-0 when he got on the end of a swift burst from the hosts.
Vinicius tore down the left and flicked a smart cross to the near post, but Benzema’s powerful header was brilliantly blocked by goalkeeper Ivan Villar. It hardly mattered, with Madrid effectively already home and hosed.