Real Madrid vs. Celta De Vigo: Key Moments and Controversies from Historic Upset

Michael CernaCorrespondent IDecember 12, 2012

Eleven years, seven months, eight days. That was the last time Celta Vigo beat Real Madrid at home—before Wednesday's Copa del Rey clash, of course.

The Galicians gave their home fans one of the best and most respectable wins in years and left the field victorious over the reigning champions of La Liga.


Match Review

Madrid can make no excuses. Jose Mourinho can only be complimentary after the match.

They had a very strong team that were always better. No calls went against them (in fact, a couple went in their favor and could prove pivotal).

Os Celestes were just the better, harder-working team. They outplayed and out-hustled Los Merengues as the champs continued to struggle away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

Mario Bermejo shocked opened the scoring from close range 10 minutes after the break when Chu-Young Park let a fine cross roll past since he was offside. The ball fell right into Bermejo's path for a rather easy goal.

Cristian Bustos then sent the home crowd into a frenzy with a blistering shot that left Adan with no chance in goal.

The hosts did their best to hold on for the last 10 minutes, but a small lapse in discipline saw Cristiano Ronaldo sneak behind the line and fire a shot home with less than five minutes to play.


Real Controversies

Celta Vigo will definitely feel incredibly proud and ecstatic about this result, but some frustration will linger as the second leg draws nearer due to some contentious calls.

The first is not quite as serious. Ronaldo scored what will likely be the key, momentum-changing goal in the dying minutes, but he probably shouldn't have even had the chance to do so.

The Portuguese national had previously made three dangerous tackles that could have each warranted a card—one that could have been a straight red without much serious argument—but escaped without a warning.

These were just non-calls that happen in every match so it would be unfair to blame the ref or put too much weight on those misses. The second incident was very different, though.


Pepe to be Punished?

The bigger non-call came after the hour mark when Pepe appeared to purposefully kick Hugo Mallo in the groin, but did not receive any punishment since it was away from the referee.

After review, the high kick, lack of a reaction given the clear contact and Pepe's fair reputation as a thug and poor sport made the kick look intentional.

Regardless of the intention, the Portuguese center-back will almost certainly escape without any sort of condemnation.

La Liga notoriously protects players and coaches from Real Madrid and Barcelona and this will be no different.

Of course, it may not have been intentional, which is certainly possible and it would be unfair to simply assume the worst.

The bigger problem is that there won't even be a discussion about it.

If this had happened in England, Pepe would at least be under review and, if found guilty, would probably be fined and suspended, especially given his past as a reckless and dangerous player.

Luckily for him, he plays in Spain.


Star Players

Michael Krohn-Dehli was dazzling in the first half and kept Madrid's defense chasing. He also sent the cross in that Bermejo finished.

Sergio Alvarez also had a superb match and was tested all night, literally from the first minute.

Borja Oubina and Iago Aspas were also threatening and troubling for Madrid throughout the match.

The Os Celestes full-backs were also incredible and shut down two of the league's best wide men for most of the match.

Roberto Lago was especially impressive, shutting Angel di Maria down so convincingly that Jose Mourinho took the Argentinian off at the break.



Before Ronaldo's goal, Celta Vigo were clearly in the driver's seat and would have entered the second leg with a strong chance of moving on.

The Portuguese's goal changed that, however, and put his team in pole position to move on with just a single goal potentially being enough to win the tie.

What were your impressions from this match? Did Ronaldo's goal save Madrid from an embarrassing early exit?

Who were your standout players and what do you make of Pepe's kick?