Asensio shines as Real thump Celtic to top group

Goals from Modric, Rodrygo, Asensio, Vinicius Jr. and Valverde ensured the holders topped Group F

Reuters
Published : 3 Nov 2022, 08:57 AM
Updated : 3 Nov 2022, 08:57 AM

Real Madrid crushed Celtic 5-1 to finish top of their Champions League group on Wednesday as they bounced back from their first loss of the season against RB Leipzig last week.

Goals from Luka Modric, Rodrygo, Marco Asensio, Vinicius Jr. and Federico Valverde - the first two from the penalty spot - ensured the holders topped Group F with 13 points, one ahead of Leipzig with both teams reaching the round of 16.

Celtic finished bottom with two points.

With Ballon D'Or winner Karim Benzema missing the game due to a muscle injury, it was a night of redemption for Asensio, who inspired waves of Real Madrid attacks in the first half.

Modric and Rodrygo scored early goals from the spot following handballs by Celtic defenders and Asensio played a big part in the build-ups.

Five minutes into the match he found Rodrygo with a beautiful touch and the Brazilian's angled shot thundered off the post.

Valverde's strike from the rebound was deflected off the hand of a defender and Modric dispatched the spot-kick after sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Real were awarded another penalty after 18 minutes and following a VAR check Rodrygo provided another calm finish.

Asensio extended Real's lead six minutes after the break with a nice volley from a Dani Carvajal cross and 10 minutes later Valverde made a great run down the right and crossed for Vinicius to score with a close-range shot.

Valverde added the fifth with what is becoming his trademark, an unstoppable long-range strike into the top corner.

It was Valverde's fifth goal from outside the box this season in all competitions, more than any other player from Europe's big five leagues.

"My team mates keep joking that I need to be careful because one of these days I will burst the ball," Valverde told Movistar Plus with a smile.

"A lot of people around me have been saying for some time that I should take more shots from distance and I guess they were right.

"My goal is to keep helping the team moving forward. I'm happy for the win and for our effort to finish as group winners."

Jota scored a consolation goal for Celtic, slotting a free kick into the top right corner five minutes from time.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher