Real Madrid kickstarted the defence of their UEFA Champions League crown in a perfect manner as they defeated Scottish champions Celtic 3-0 at Parkhead in a Group F encounter.
After a tight first half when the hosts put up a solid fight, Real Madrid turned it up a notch after the break as goals from Vinicius Junior, Luka Modric and Eden Hazard ensured that Carlo Ancelotti’s side picked up all three points on Tuesday night.
The only disappointment on the night for Los Blancos was the injury to club captain and main striker Karim Benzema, who had to be taken off just half an hour into the game.
Speaking about the same after the game, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said: “We don’t know anything about Benzema’s injury. After one corner, I passed the ball to him and he was struggling with his knee.
“Benzema never takes risks with injuries. If he feels uncomfortable, he asks to get subbed off immediately. We hope the injury is nothing serious.”
The Belgian international was also full of praise for his compatriot Eden Hazard, who took his chance after replacing Benzema and capped off a fine display with a goal.
“Hazard showed that he can be relied on and deserves to play,” Courtois said. “Hazard is a very important player to us. After his penalty miss vs Celta, he did not play very much but he changed the game vs Celtic and had a fantastic performance.”
Talking about the team’s performance on the night, Courtois added: “The first half was tough going, they made a very strong start and there was an amazing atmosphere inside here.
“Within the first couple of minutes, they’d already had two corners, a shot that Militão or the post got in the way of to save us.”
On the turnaround after half-time, he said: “We then began to find our tempo and worked out how best to handle them and we improved as the minutes ticked by. We dominated things in the second half. It was a deserved win. Had they scored early on, it would have been more of a struggle for us.”
Courtois was also full of praise for the atmosphere created by the home fans at Celtic Park on the night, as he said: “It’s a stadium I love coming to. On Matchday 1 of the Champions League, it’s been a fantastic atmosphere, always positive and getting behind their team. They applauded us as well.
“That’s the beauty of football. It’s a pleasure to have played here and to be coming away with the win.”
Source: Real Madrid official website
Brahim, Tchouameni start in a 4-3-1-2: How Real Madrid could lineup against Sevilla
Real Madrid are set to play hosts to Sevilla this evening, in what could prove to be a critical match in the context of the title race.
Although Los Blancos hold a formidable lead at the top of the table, the club are coming on the back of a disappointing result against Rayo Vallecano.
Dropping more points against Sevilla tonight could prove to be costly, especially with Barcelona and Girona breathing down their necks.
Potential Real Madrid lineup vs Sevilla
As Real Madrid approach this crucial game, coach Carlo Ancelotti has to make several arrangements, especially with so many players ruled out either due to injury or suspension.
Starting from the goalkeeper position, Thibaut Courtois remains out, which means Andriy Lunin should continue in between the sticks, ahead of the unhappy Kepa Arrizabalaga.
In the right-back position, Ancelotti is likely to opt for Lucas Vazquez, as Dani Carvajal is suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the last game.
On a bright note, though, Antonio Rudiger is back and should return to central defence. He will be accompanied by Nacho Fernandez at the heart of Real Madrid’s four-man backline.
Elsewhere in defence, Ferland Mendy should continue to start ahead of Fran Garcia in the left-back position.
Moving into midfield, Eduardo Camavinga has been ruled out due to suspension. However, Ancelotti does have a myriad of options in the middle of the park.
Aurelien Tchouameni should continue to operate in the number six position, just behind the two interior midfielders Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde.
Luka Modric is an option on the bench, should Ancelotti require more experience in the middle.
As for the attack, the Real Madrid frontline should be led by Brahim Diaz once again, even though he faces fierce competition from Joselu.
Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, on the other hand, are guaranteed choices in the wide attacking spaces, though Ancelotti does have Arda Guler and Alvaro Rodriguez as potential alternatives.