Ronaldo, Zidane (2) and Figo's
targets ruined Celta's good play, which had Madrid on the ropes for the first
half of the match. Ilic's goal jeopardized Madrid's breakaway from Valencia
after the latter had fallen to a defeat against Espanyol. But Queiroz' boys
only took twenty minutes to settle their eleventh home win. Raúl and Guti made
their team work smoothly when they needed most. Now Madrid is eight points
ahead of its pursuer Valencia. Madrid coach was able to give a break to his
two forwards for the last part of the match. The result was finally changed in
the extra time with a target by Milosevic. Francisco Pavón got a fifth yellow
card today and will not be able to step on the pitch next week to play Racing
The Vigo squad came out with the strong determination to give the second
surprise of the day. Edú and Ilic gave a bit of a trouble to Casillas over the
early minutes of play. Visiting coach Antic had arranged a sort of spider's
web that did not let either Beckham or Guti reach for their forward teammates.
The command of the play was in the visitor's hands, though Ronaldo did scare
them when he first shot at their goal. However, the course of the game seemed
to foreshadow some trouble. The trouble finally turned into a goal from a very
disputed corner kick. Ilic caught a save and convert it into the first target
of the game. The home side grew somehow restless realizing how tough it was to
get through the visiting area. In the meantime, Mostovoi managed to come near
Casillas' goal several times and the Silviho-Edú partnership kept giving
Salgado a lot of hassle.
Raúl was the only white player that stood out. The captain did not resign
himself to the defeat and tried to hit Celta goal from every angle possible.
He enjoyed the best chances of Real in the first half. His side was having a
hard time without seeing much light at the end of the tunnel. The game grew a
bit rough with four players cautioned, one of them, Pavón, will be out of next
week's match against Racing Santander. After the break the course of the play
did not seem to change much, and neither did both sides' lineups. Celta was
still enjoying the possession of the ball but Casillas was alert to prevent
the second target of the visiting side.
Ten crazy minutes
Ronaldo stepped in at this point to beat Celta keeper following the interplay
between Zidane and Beckham (54'). Madrid was after the three points so that
they could take full possession of the top position. But then Celta also had
the pressure of standing at the bottom part of the table, so it was clear they
were not going to make it easy for Real. Just one minute after the draw,
Milosevic faced Casillas all by himself, but the white goalie saved his team
from the wreck once again. Madrid's play was looking up just as the tension
was more and more felt in Bernabéu air. Guti and Raúl played a determinant
role in this sort of rally.
The Whites wanted very badly to secure the three points that will make things
a lot easier in the Liga tournament. Zidane hit the second target in one of
his side's charges. Luis Figo gave the Frenchman a wonderful centre pass
(63'). Queiroz had already achieved his goal so now if Celta wanted to rally
they would have to face the white defence. Vagner and Gustavo López came on to
give Celta some new life. Before these two changes, Ilic had wasted a
wonderful interplay (67'). But the final touch to the game came from Figo. The
Portuguese player was quick to send a very precise pass from Beckham into
Celta net. The third goal made clear who was the owner of the top position.
The late minutes of play gave Bernabéu crowd the chance to pay a deserved
tribute to Raúl and Ronaldo when both of them were substituted. Besides,
Milosevic gave the match some more life in the extra time before the fourth
Madrid goal scored by Zidane following one more of Figo's charges. This
triumph has made the distance between Valencia and Madrid bigger. Next week
Madrid will be on the road to Santander.