Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the La Liga clash between Celta Vigo
and Real Madrid
from the Balaidos. Madrid finished 19 points behind champions Barcelona in third place last season, while Celta only just survived the threat of relegation - ending the campaign in 17th position. What will occur this afternoon? Stay tuned to find out!
CELTA: Blanco; Kevin, Araujo, Costas, Olaza; Beltran, Lobotka, Suarez, Mendez; Aspas, Fernandez
MADRID: Courtois; Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Vinicius
Celta are without summer arrival Santi Mina due to an ankle problem, while captain Hugo Mallo is also absent for the home side this afternoon. There is a debut for former Barcelona attacker Denis Suarez, though, while Gabriel Fernandez will make his first appearance for the club in the final third alongside Iago Aspas, who had another excellent 2018-19 campaign.
As for Madrid, the standout team news is the inclusion of Gareth Bale in the starting XI. Bale has been strongly linked with a move away from the Bernabeu this summer but starts this afternoon. There are no debutants, though, with Eden Hazard, Rodrygo Goes and Ferland Mendy all injured. Luka Jovic is on the bench alongside Eder Militao, though. Dani Carvajal misses out through suspension meaning that Alvaro Odriozola features at right-back in a 4-3-3 formation.
KICKOFF: Celta kick things off on home soil...
... it must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium this afternoon. Barcelona lost at Athletic Bilbao last night and therefore Celta will be confident of pulling off another shock result here. It will be fascinating to see how Madrid perform here.
Not too much to report in terms of attacking football in the first four minutes as both teams just attempt to settle into the contest. Madrid have had slightly more of the ball.
Celta win a free kick in a dangerous area - out wide - as Ramos brings Fernandez to the ground. However, the Madrid captain makes the clearance from the resulting set piece. Can Los Blancos keep a clean sheet this afternoon? That would be huge for them.
Eight minutes on the clock and we are still waiting for this game to ignite. Both teams have had decent periods in possession but neither has threatened to find the back of the net. Not too much from Bale or Vinicius in support of Benzema in the early exchanges.
YELLOW CARD! Kevin (Celta) is booked for a foul on Kroos.
Los Blancos have won on four of their last five visits to Celta in the league, remaining unbeaten at the Balaidos since a 2-0 defeat in May 2014. That said, the two teams played out a 2-2 draw in Vigo during the 2017-18 campaign. Would a draw be a decent result today?
Not the best of matches at the moment to be completely honest - not the greatest of tempos and neither side has created even a half-chance. Yet to ignite in Vigo.
GOAL! CELTA VIGO 0-1 REAL MADRID (BENZEMA)
Breakthrough! Madrid take the lead in the 12th minute as Bale drives down the left before delivering a low cross into Benzema, who pokes the ball home from close range. Excellent work from Bale to help Zidane's side take the lead in Vigo.
SAVE! Blanco has to get down to keep out a powerful strike from Bale.
Celta need to be careful here as they are still frustrated from what they perceived to be a foul in the build-up to Madrid's goal - the home side must not lose concentration.
Celta are doing their best to work something down the left, but Madrid look fairly tight defensively at the moment with Odriozola showing his pace on a number of occasions.
Pass, pass, pass from Madrid as they continue to move the ball through the lines with Modric and Kroos enjoying possession. Nothing much for Celta at the moment here.
What happens to Bale if the Welshman continues to impress in this match? The attacker has been very, very bright thus far and is making his point to Zidane. But it would be fair to assume that Eden Hazard will be starting in the front three when he is back.
Celta seem to be incredibly unhappy with a number of things at the moment, namely some late challenges. Indeed, Modric has just flown into the back of Suarez, but the referee was not interested in awarding a card. Still 1-0 to the visitors here.
Fernandez, Mendez and Suarez are all doing their best to make things happen for Celta, but the home side have not had a chance or half-chance in the first 25 minutes here.
Los Blancos lost 12 of their 38 league games last season to finish in third - 19 points off champions Barca. It is difficult to imagine the club going from that gap to challenging for the title, but Ernesto Valverde's side suffered a 1-0 defeat at Bilbao last night.
Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining and Celta are on the front foot. That said, Courtois has still not had anything to do, which will be disappointing for the hosts.
Bale races clear for Madrid before feeding Odriozola, but there are no takers on the defender's low cross into the box. Bale continues to impress for Zidane's side here.
Half-chance for the home side as Aspas breaks into a wide area before delivering low towards Fernandez, but Varane manages to poke it clear at the vital moment.
CLOSE! Costas heads a corner over the Madrid crossbar at the far post.
Marcelo finds space in a dangerous position but his low cross is cleared. Celta then break down the other end through Mendez, who is challenged by Varane out wide.
SAVE! Super save from Blanco to keep out a low strike from Modric after the Croatian had created some space before looking to pick out the bottom corner of the goal!
YELLOW CARD! Vinicius (Real Madrid) is booked for a foul on Suarez.
Bale is again the target as Madrid look to break down the left, but the ball just runs away from the attacker at the vital moment. Little over five minutes of the first half remaining here.
Madrid won both of the league matches between the two teams last season, following a 4-2 success at the Balaidos in November 2018 with a 2-0 victory at the Bernabeu. No sign of six goals in this match - Madrid do need approaching the half-time break, though.
James Rodriguez is on the bench for Madrid this afternoon and it will be fascinating to see whether the Colombia international is given some minutes. He has been strongly linked with a move away from the Bernabeu this summer but now looks set to remain.
Just a reminder that Barca lost to Athletic Bilbao last night. It is obviously ridiculously early in the season but going three points clear of them at this point would be big for Madrid.
SAVE! Smart save from Blanco to keep out a strike from Bale after the Wales international had broken into a shooting position before having a go. Bale has been good here.
GOAL! CELTA VIGO 1-1 REAL MADRID (MENDEZ)
GOAL! Oh my word! Celta level the scores in the latter stages of the first period as a mistake from Odriozola presents Aspas with the ball and the forward slides a pass into Mendez, who finds the bottom corner of the net. Terrible from the Madrid right-back there!
DISALLOWED GOAL! VAR have disallowed it! Incredible scenes! Offside!
It was very, very, very close. However, Aspas looked to be just offside. Huge moment in this football match and Madrid are very lucky to still be ahead in Vigo.
HALF TIME: CELTA VIGO 0-1 REAL MADRID
So there we have it - the referee brings the first half to an end with Madrid leading Celta 1-0 courtesy of an early goal from Karim Benzema
. That does not tell the whole story, though, with the home side having one chalked off late in the first half following a VAR review. Madrid are fortunate to be ahead at the end of a tight first 45 minutes here.
STATISTICS! Celta had 59% possession in the first half, but only hit the target with one of their two attempts. Madrid, meanwhile, saw all four of their shots hit the target. Four yellow cards to report in the first half of action - Vinicius going in the book for Madrid, while Kevin, Blancos and Aspas have all picked up yellow cards for the home side.
BENCH WATCH! Isco, Jovic, Lucas and James Rodriguez are all on the Madrid bench, which is strong when considering their injury list. Celta, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Jorge, Sisto and Sergio. It will be fascinating to see how both managers use their benches.
KICKOFF: Madrid resume the action here...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not much of a surprise. However, you suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second half develops.
CLOSE! So close to a second for the away side as Benzema attempts to place the ball into the bottom corner but it just rolls past the post. Excellent from Marcelo again.
SAVE! Smart goalkeeping from Courtois to keep out an attempt from Aspas as Celta look to level in the early stages of the second period. Good stuff from the Belgian.
YELLOW CARD! Fernandez (Celta) is booked for an elbow on Ramos.
PENALTY APPEAL! Celta have a penalty appeal as the ball appears to strike a hand inside the Madrid box. However, VAR appear to be happy enough that the referee made the correct call.
You do get the feeling that there are more goals in this match with Celta carrying the fight to Madrid, who will subsequently have more space down the other end here.
Suarez continues to make things happen for Celta, and he has just been chopped down in a wide position once again. Madrid have only picked up one yellow card in this match despite the fact that there have been some poor tackles - that one from Modric.
The referee is going across to the screen to have a look at that challenge from Modric, which was not exactly great. The Croatian could be in some trouble here...
RED CARD! ... MODRIC (REAL MADRID) Oh my word! The referee comes back across and hands a straight red card to Modric for that foul on Suarez!
Modric is absolutely furious with the decision - it did look very harsh. However, the referee believed that the midfielder had intentionally caught Suarez there.
SAVE! Wonderful save from Courtois to keep out a close-range header from Araujo as Celta look to take advantage of their extra man. Madrid need to be careful here.
Still a solid 30 minutes of football to play in this match. Can Celta find a leveller, or will Madrid score a second to give themselves clear breathing room here?
SAVE! Smart save from Blanco to keep out a header from Benzema.
GOAL! CELTA VIGO 0-2 REAL MADRID (KROOS)
GOAL! Oh my word! It is a stunner from Kroos! The Germany international works a little bit of space outside the box before finding the back of the net via the crossbar - an absolute stunner of a long-range goal from the midfielder. Madrid have some space to breathe!
YELLOW CARD! Odriozola (Madrid) is booked for a foul on Suarez.
Little over 25 minutes of the second period remaining and Celta are having plenty of the ball without really threatening to get themselves back into this football match.
Madrid are seemingly preparing to make their first change of the match with Lucas Vazquez
receiving his final instructions. Might well enter the field for Vinicius here.
REAL MADRID SUB! Indeed, Lucas comes on for Vinicius here.
Plenty of possession for Celta as they continue to pass and probe in the final third, but Courtois has not had a save to make since Kroos found the back of the net with that wonderful effort. This would be a big win for Los Blancos under these circumstances.
CLOSE! Aspas just misses the bottom corner with a curling effort from outside the Madrid box - that would have been a big time to halve the deficit here.
YELLOW CARD! Costas (Celta) is booked for a foul on Benzema.
REAL MADRID SUB! Isco replaces Bale in Madrid's second change.
SHOT! Wide of the post from Lucas after the Madrid attacker had worked some space before attempting to test Blanco. Little over 10 minutes of football remaining here.
Possession football from Celta at the moment but the home side are finding it difficult to create openings with Madrid naturally sitting deeper due to having Modric sent off.
GOAL! CELTA VIGO 0-3 REAL MADRID (LUCAS VAZQUEZ)
GOAL! Madrid score their third in the 80th minute as a fine passing move ends with Benzema feeding Lucas, who finds the back of the net with a calm finish. Not sure about the defending from Celta - Madrid will not mind, though, and it is a huge goal!
REAL MADRID SUB! Jovic replaces Benzema for the away side.
CELTA SUB! Cheikh replaces Beltran in Celta's second change of the match.
Little over five minutes of the second period remaining and Celta just want this game to be over. It has been a disaster for the home side considering the circumstances.
Madrid have a free kick in a dangerous area as Sisto brings Isco to the ground. Isco is standing over the set piece, which is potentially bad news for the home side...
... Isco's free kick hits the wall.
Celta break down the left through Aspas and the attacker looks to find a teammate with a low cross, but Varane is on hand to make the clearance. Still 3-0 to Madrid.
GOAL! CELTA VIGO 1-3 REAL MADRID (LOSADA)
GOAL! Celta give their fans something to cheer in the final moments of this match as Iker Losada finds the bottom corner with a brilliant finish from a wide angle!
We are into the third of four additional minutes at the end of the match.
FULL TIME: CELTA VIGO 1-3 REAL MADRID
So there we have it - the referee brings the second period to a close with Madrid recording a 3-1 win over Celta to open their campaign with a strong win. That is just about it from me this afternoon, but I shall leave you with the match report
. Until next time!