Madrid, March 17 (IANS) Isco and Gareth Bale scored a goal apiece to give Real Madrid a 2-0 victory over Celta Vigo in the first match of Zinedine Zidane’s second stint as head coach of the Spanish-league powerhouse.
Zidane, who enjoyed a wildly successful initial tenure as manager of the Blancos from 2016 to 2018 leading them to three consecutive Champions League titles and a La Liga crown, has taken the helm of the club once again towards the end of a highly disappointing 2018-2019 season, Efe news reported.
In his return, the French former playing great called upon the squad’s “old guard”, inserting goalie Keylor Navas, left-back Marcelo, Isco and Bale into his starting XI on Saturday night.
All four rewarded Zidane’s trust, with Isco and Bale finding the back of the net, Marcelo assisting on the second goal and Navas keeping a clean sheet.
After a scoreless first 45 minutes, Madrid nearly got on the board in the 56th minute but the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system annulled an apparent goal by Luka Modric, ruling that defender Raphael Varane had obstructed the goalie’s view from an offside position.
But six minutes later Karim Benzema received a pass from Marco Asensio and set up a sliding Isco for the opener inside the six-yard box. The close-range strike was Isco’s last touch before being replaced by Dani Ceballos.
Marcelo then sent a low cross from the left side in the 77th minute to Bale, who got just enough on a right-footed shot from the centre of the box to score into the bottom left corner.
Real Madrid (54 points) is currently at third place in La Liga. They are nine points behind league-leading Barcelona, who have a game in hand.