Celtic 0-3 Real Madrid (Vinícius Júnior, Luka Modrić & Eden Hazard). Here is the immediate reaction to the away win. Still to come: press conferences, player ratings and a ManagingMadrid podcast.
The Champions League has arrived, and Real Madrid must once again set out to retain their title as European Champions. A trip to chilly Scotland was up first for Los Blancos, as national Champions Celtic played host for the evening. Carlo Ancelotti’s team was predictably strong, with Karim Benzema captaining arguably the strongest line-up available. Antonio Rüdiger and Eden Hazard were on the bench as reinforcements, with only Álvaro Odriozola and Jesús Vallejo missed out due to injury.
The atmosphere at Celtic Park was unbelievable, and the home fans were really pushing their side forward to try and cause an upset. For a big chunk of the first half, the heart the hosts played with was really working for them - especially when Karim Benzema had to hobble off with an injury. He was replaced by Eden Hazard. Celtic had a couple of huge chances to score, with Callum McGregor coming the closest after hitting the post from the edge of the box. Madrid did enough themselves to make some danger in attack, with Fede Valverde shooting just wide with his weaker foot. Vinícius Júnior almost snuck Madrid into the lead just before half time, but Joe Hart was there to deny the Brazilian.
Eden Hazard scores his first goal for Real Madrid since January 2022 pic.twitter.com/LNF5dfJ5Ku— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 6, 2022
At the start of the second half, Celtic continued to push for something despite being dominated in possession. After battling through a couple of home chances, Madrid appeared to shake the pressure and nerviness - and quickly secured the opening goal. Vinícius Júnior hit a low shot past the goalkeeper to ensure he is the man the team continues to look for in absence of King Karim. Minutes later, it was two. Eden Hazard broke away really well before picking out Luka Modrić who chopped inside and unleashed a shot with the outside of his foot. The goalkeeper got a hand to it but it wasn’t enough to stop the strike from finding the net. It was all Real Madrid from here on out, and a string of substitutions from both sides didn’t manage to change the dynamics. Eden Hazard made it 3-0 himself when Toni Kroos played an incredible pass over the entire defence - allowing Dani Carvajal to cushion the ball down for the Belgian to tap the ball home. Thibaut Courtois had to work for his clean-sheet towards the end as a forward almost capitalised on a mistake, but the keeper made a great save to secure the 3-0 win for Madrid. Did you enjoy the opening Champions League win?