Sports Mole brings you live commentary of today's La Liga encounter between Real Madrid and Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu.
Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole's live commentary of the La Liga encounter between Real Madrid and Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu.
Madrid have recovered from a slow start to the league season by winning four of their last five matches, while they drew 2-2 at the Nou Camp before the international break.
They currently sit in fifth spot in the table, but are eight points off the leaders Barcelona and will almost certainly have to remain unbeaten from now until the end of the season to defend their title.
Celta, meanwhile, have secured nine points from their opening seven matches on their return to the Spanish top flight.
They have also won two of the last four clashes with Madrid and famously won at the home of the Spanish champions in November 2006.
Please note that kickoff is at 5pm.
6.54pmThanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and stay with us for live commentary of Valencia versus Athletic Bilbao. See you in a mo! 6.52pmSo there we have it. Madrid move into fourth spot in La Liga with a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo. It was as comfortable as you are likely to see. 90 min+2Madrid come close to a third as Varane rises highest in the box, but his header is wide of the target. Little over one minute of added time remaining. 90 minWe will play an additional three minutes of time at the end of the half. Madrid are going through the motions at the moment. 89 minIt could also be a rare clean sheet for Madrid with one minute of normal time remaining. Ronaldo comes close to his second, but the danger is cleared. 87 minNot a great deal happening as we approach the final minutes of the evening. Madrid have possession and pass and pass in their own half. 85 minFinal change of the evening for Madrid as Higuain is replaced by Karim Benzema. Not a bad replacement as they go. 83 minChance! So nearly an unlikely goal for Celta as Casillas drops the ball in the area, but the Spanish keeper just manages to clear the danger. Seven minutes remain. 81 minJust a reminder that we have live commentary of Valencia vs. Athletic Bilbao coming up at 7pm. Be sure to remain with us for that one! 79 minSo nearly a third for Madrid as Callejon strikes an effort from close range, but Alvarez makes a smart save. The keeper has had a solid evening of football. 77 minThe away side make their third and final change of the evening as Fernandez is replaced by Quique de Lucas. Anyone fancy him grabbing a hat-trick? 75 minCelta have been really poor this evening. It is almost as if they are happy to take a defeat and move onto the next match. It's all Madrid as we approach the final 15 minutes. 73 minMadrid do indeed make the change as Ozil is replaced by Jose Callejon for the final 20 minutes. In truth, this one has been over since Madrid scored the second. 71 minHalf-chance for Celta as they force a free kick out wide, but Lopez's ball is cleared by Pepe. Meanwhile, Madrid appear to be preparing another change. 69 minIt has not been a vintage performance from the home side, but they have almost certainly secured all the points. Unless Celta can secure an unlikely comeback. 68 minRonaldo - who else?! - slots the ball into the bottom corner to send his side 2-0 ahead. That's the game. 67 minReal Madrid 2-0 Celta Vigo (Ronaldo) 67 minMadrid are awarded a penalty as Ozil is bundled over in the area by Cabral. Ronaldo will take it. 64 minSuddenly Madrid burst into life as Ronaldo beats the offside trap, but his searching cross is cut out by Cabral. Meanwhile, Varane heads wide from close range. 62 minChance! Best chance of the second period falls to Ronaldo as he strikes it from close range, but it just moves wide of the target. 60 minMadrid have control of possession at the moment, but there is just no invention. It is almost like a pre-season match. It could not get more comfortable. 58 minAnother change for the away side as Aspas is replaced by Arsenal's on-loan striker Chu-young Park. What a time it would be for him to make his mark. The game needs a spark. 55 minMadrid remain the team that look the most likely, but they are not comfortable this evening. I cannot put my finger on it but there is something missing. 53 minChange for the away side as Bustos is replaced by Mario Bermejo. The former is not best pleased with that decision, but maybe it will change his team's fortunes. 51 minMadrid continue to threaten as Ronaldo drives into the penalty area, but Mallo stands up well to clear the danger. There is no real tempo to this match at the moment. 49 minOne thing that I would say is that Madrid do give teams chances to score. The longer it remains 1-0, the longer Celta have a chance. However, Madrid are on the attack once more. 47 minBright start from Di Maria as he collects a Ronaldo cross before beating his full-back, but Cabral clears the danger. 46 minChange at the break for Madrid as Angel di Maria replaces Kaka. Meanwhile, Celta kick us off in the second period. 6.01pmHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. Can Madrid put this game to bed early on or will Celta launch an unlikely comeback? 5.59pmJust a reminder that victory for Madrid this evening would move them five points behind Barcelona, although the Catalan outfit would have a game in hand. Meanwhile, Celta would remain in 12th position. 5.56pmLet's take a look at some statistics from the opening half of play. Madrid have dominated possession with 65% of the ball, while they have had six shots to Celta's two. 5.53pmIn truth, it could and should have been more than one. Ronaldo has had at least three golden chances, while Pepe also came close early on. The only good news for Celta is that they are just a singular goal behind. 5.50pmSo there we have it. It has hardly been a thriller, but a goal from Higuain remains the difference between the two sides. It has been a total walkover for the home side. 45 minWe will play an additional one minute at the end of the half. 44 minSlight bit of invention from the away side as Bustos dances past the challenge of Alonso, but Essien is there to clear the danger. Little over one minute of normal time remaining. 42 minCelta have had just 34% possession in this opening 42 minutes and even that surprises me. The second goal appears to be coming every time Madrid attack. 40 minAnother half-chance for Ronaldo as he strikes from a wide position, but it was always moving wide of the target. Why not with eight goals in his last three games? 38 minChance! So nearly two for Madrid as Ronaldo flicks a Modric effort towards goal, but it hits the top of the crossbar. He could have had three already. 36 minIt's impressive defending from the away side as Tunez muscles Ronaldo off the ball - how many players can say they have done that?! In truth, not a great deal is happening at the moment. 34 minIt is a really strange atmosphere inside the Bernabeu this evening. It is almost as if the supporters have just turned up expecting their side to win the match easily. 32 minMadrid continue to pass and probe around the Celta box with Alonso and Ozil enjoying plenty of touches. However, the away side have parked the bus in the past few moments. 30 minThe match has just become ever so sloppy in the past few minutes with both sides exchanging possession. However, Celta have improved after a poor opening to the match. 28 minSuddenly the away side burst into life as Krohn-Delhi strikes from outside the box, but Casillas pushes the ball clear of the danger. Who woke them up?! 26 minCelta's first half-chance of the match falls to Fernandez as he meets a header inside the box, but Pepe just makes a block at the vital point. There is always that threat with just a one-goal lead. 24 minChance! Oh my word. Wonderful chance for Ronaldo as he meets a header from close range, but somehow Alvarez palms it wide. What a save. 22 minIt remains all Madrid as the half approaches its mid-point. You just get the feeling that another home goal before the break could put this one to bed, even this early. 18 minAnother long-range strike from Ronaldo threatens to test the goalkeeper, but his effort strikes into the wall and behind for a corner. He is getting closer. 16 minBest spell of the match for the away side as Bustos and Augusto Fernandez combine in the Madrid half, but the latter cannot find the run of Iago Aspas. Better from Celta. 14 minIn truth, the early goal had been coming. But it has left Celta with an awful lot to do in this match. Again Madrid flood forward with Ronaldo in possession, but the danger is cleared. 12 minMadrid lead as Higuain strikes an effort from out wide and it loops over Alvarez and into the back of the net. I do not think he meant it! 12 minGOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Celta Vigo (Higuain) 11 minCelta just need to put a spell of possession together as we approach the 12-minute mark in the match. Alex Lopez and Cristian Bustos have been starved off the ball thus far. 9 minAgain it's smart work from Madrid as Ronaldo feeds Ozil in the penalty area, but Hugo Mallo clears the danger. Meanwhile, Modric is denied with a powerful header from close range. 7 minHowever, Ronaldo's effort strikes straight into the wall and away for a throw. That was not his best effort. It must be said as a side note that Ozil is sporting a smart hair-cut. 6 minIt's wonderful football from Madrid once more as Ozil dances past Lago, but Tunez brings the German down on the edge of the penalty area. 4 minHalf-chance for Madrid as Sergio Ramos meets a Xabi Alonso corner, but his header is just wide of the target. The Spanish champions look in the mood in the early stages. 4 minFirst real piece of attacking intent comes from Madrid as Ozil slips a pass towards Kaka, but it is just too long for the Brazilian. The away side have not had the ball thus far. 2 minDecent start for the home side as Ronaldo whips a dangerous cross into the box, but Sergio Alvarez collects the danger. 1 minHere we go then. Madrid kick us off on this mild evening in Spain and immediately take control of possession. 4.59pmHandshakes? Check. Flags exchanged? Check. Let's get this show on the road. Madrid simply have to keep on winning in order to stay in touch with leaders Barcelona. 4.57pmRight, both sets of players are just about to join us on the pitch on this warm evening in Madrid. My score prediction is a 4-1 win for the home side. 4.54pmUndoubtedly the player to watch for the away side is Danish international Michael Krohn-Dehli. The striker scored two goals in his country's Euro 2012 exploits in the summer, but has yet to open his account this season. 4.54pmMadrid have, however, already dropped 10 points in La Liga this season, just four fewer than in the whole of last season. 4.52pmMadrid have defensive worries with the absences of Alvaro Arbeloa, Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao to contend with. However, they are unbeaten in their last 15 matches at the Bernabeu and will be confident of extending that run this early evening. 4.49pmCristiano Ronaldo suffered disappointment in the international break with Portugal, but he has scored 10 goals in his last five La Liga matches and it would be difficult to back against him adding to that tally this early evening. 4.49pmCelta enter the match with three wins from their last five league matches, including an impressive 2-0 victory over Sevilla last time out. The have also scored in each of their last five encounters and do boast an attacking threat. 4.47pmAs mentioned above, Madrid stuttered in the early stages of the season and suffered defeats against Sevilla and Getafe, but they have recovered in recent weeks to move up the table. That said, Mourinho's side remain eight points off second, currently occupied by Atletico Madrid. 4.47pmSo there we have it. Kaka also starts for Real Madrid, but Jose Mourinho has been forced to line up with a back three following injuries to a host of key men in defence. Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Luka Modric also starts for the home side. 4.45pmTeams:
Real Madrid: Casillas; Varane, Pepe, Ramos; Ozil, Alonso, Essien, Modric, Kaka; Ronaldo, Higuain
Celta Vigo: Sergio; Mallo, Lago, Arceo, Cabral; Oubina, Lopez, Bustos, Fernandez; Aspas, Krohn-Delhi
4.45pmTeam News: Raphael Varane and Michael Essien both start for Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Michael Krohn-Dehli is fit for the away side. 4.45pmGood afternoon all! The international break is well and truly over and now the fascinating early season in La Liga continues. Madrid will be confident of securing all three points against the newly-promoted outfit, but it is rarely that cut and dry.