Looking to create some separation atop La Liga table, first-place Real Madrid attempt to tackle surprising upstart and second-place Celta Vigo in Saturday’s matchup at Estadio Balaidos.
Rafa Benitez’s side sit just ahead of Celta in the standings, with one goal separating the 18-point clubs that have yet to suffer a La Liga defeat through eight matches.
However, Madrid have claimed six of their last seven contests against Celta, and 28-year-old goalkeeper Keylor Navas has perfectly complemented leading scorer and forward Cristino Ronaldo’s attacking prowess with six clean sheets and only two goals conceded in eight starts.
In his last La Liga appearance, Ronaldo surged ahead of the great Raul to become Madrid’s all-time leading scorer and helped the squad defeat Levante 3-0 last week.
The Portuguese Ronaldo has received some flak for his failure to reach the back of the net more despite firing off 61 shots this season, however, he and forward Karim Benzema are tied for second in the league with six goals apiece.
But getting the attack of the ground could prove difficult for Madrid against a Celta defense that’s one of the stingiest in La Liga. Eduardo Berizzo’s side have let up only eight goals in as many matches, with keeper Sergio Alvarez deflecting 19 shots and claiming to two clean sheets.
Owning an identical 5-3-0 record to Madrid’s, second-year manager Eduardo Berizzo and his side are off to a blazing start and well ahead of last year’s eighth-place pace. Thanks to forward Nolito’s six goals and three assists, with defender Hugo Mallo assisting three more, Celta’s tied for second in the league with 17 goals scored and in goal differential.
And this is the same group that took down giants Barcelona with a blistering 4-1 victory at home last month.
Kickoff: 10 a.m. ET
TV Channel: beIN Sports
Live Online: bein Sports Connect