Luka Modric scored a wonderful goal as defending champions Real Madrid beat Celta Vigo 4-1 in La Liga.

After the two teams exchanged early goals from the penalty spot, courtesy of Karim Benzema and Iago Aspas, Modric took control. Three minutes before half-time, the 36-year-old gave Madrid the crucial lead to go into the interval with an unstoppable curling strike from 20 yards.

Madrid then struck twice on the break in the second half through Vinicius Jr. and Federico Valverde to make the three points secure. The scoreline could have been even more emphatic for the visitors but substitute Eden Hazard, charitably given the responsibility by Benzema, had a late penalty saved.

Before Modric’s intervention, Madrid were stuck in a real tussle with their opponents, just as they were in a narrow 2-1 win against Almeria in their LaLiga opener a week ago.

Playing their first game without Manchester United-bound Casemiro, Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti started with Aurelien Tchouameni in a midfield three alongside Modric and Eduardo Camavinga.

And Tchouameni had a significant involvement early on. It was the summer signing’s header that found David Alaba in front of goal before the defender’s shot was clearly blocked by the arm of Celta Vigo’s Renato Tapia. While the referee didn’t see it in real time, after a check from VAR it was a simple decision to point to the penalty spot.

Benzema sent Celta goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin the wrong way to get his first goal of the season with 14 minutes on the clock.

But less than 10 minutes later, the scores were level. This time it was Eder Militao whose arm was in the wrong place at the wrong time to block a header from Goncalo Paciencia and give the officials another simple job to award a penalty. Aspas followed Benzema’s lead with a decisive strike from the spot.

It was Modric’s goal that the game will be most remembered for, though. The Croatian showed his enduring brilliance, gliding by a challenge before effortlessly dispatching the ball into the top corner of the net.

Paciencia went close with a low strike across goal at the start of the second half as Celta sought to get back on level terms. But when Modric found Vinicius clear through the middle and the Brazilian rounded the keeper before sliding home the contest was effectively ended.

Valverde wrapped up the scoring, allowing Modric to sit out the final minutes on the bench after receiving a standing ovation from all four corners of the Balaidos.

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By Amara

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