The 3-0 scoreline may indicate otherwise, but matters were not that simple for Real Madrid as they defeated Celta Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu on Monday evening.
In fact, the visitors had held their own up until the opening goal in the 67th minute, and had even managed to create the better chances overall than their hosts.
Only with the introduction of Jese and Gareth Bale after the hour mark were Madrid able to finally break down Celta's stubborn defense, thanks largely to the pace and energy of the two wide men.
Karim Benzema eventually broke the deadlock thanks to a Jese cross, before Cristiano Ronaldo punished a dispirited Celta with two more goals in the final ten minutes.
For much of the first half, and the opening 15 minutes of the second period, Los Blancos probed, but were unable to find a way through.
Celta manager Luis Enrique abandoned his favored 4-3-3 formation and had his team set up as a 4-1-4-1.
The fullbacks stayed well back, not even venturing past the half way line until Jonny Castro overlapped in the 31st minute, while Borja Oubina served as the deepest midfielder, adding an extra body in defense.
This picture illustrates Celta's two lines of four, with Oubina nestled in between and, in this case, sticking close to Ronaldo.
Real found this a challenge to deal with. Though they were able to find some space on the flanks, especially when Daniel Carvajal pushed forward down the right, the center of the pitch was so congested with Celta players that any crosses were dealt with adequately.
The visiting team's central defenders, Gustavo Cabral and 18-year-old David Costas, were superbly efficient at clearing any danger. They were well supported by goalkeeper Yoel, who chose precisely the right moments to take several steps forward and join the ruck just in front of the six-yard box.
Here, Carvajal has wriggled free of his marker, but his cutback would not result in a clear shot on goal as the Celta defenders, who were back in numbers, were able to shepherd the ball away from the lurking Benzema and Ronaldo.
Another problem for Madrid in the first half was a lack of impact from key players such as Isco, Xabi Alonso and Ronaldo.
Xabi had a quiet game from his deep-lying midfield position, while Ronaldo took up a more central position than he is used to as Isco peeled off to the left.
Neither player was particularly effective, and though Angel Di Maria made some inroads down the right, he was also unable to create a decisive chance.
Celta were actually the side producing the clearer chances when they broke forward. This example shows how they were able to create a threatening situation when Rafinha got around Marcelo and strode towards goal flanked by two teammates.
Rafinha's shot was deflected just wide of the post, but the result could have been much worse for Madrid if the Brazilian had moved the ball to Fabian Orellana to his left.
The balance of the match changed, however, when Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti introduced Jese for Isco in the 62nd minute, and Bale for Di Maria four minutes later.
Just as Celta's defenders were tiring, the home side's energy levels received a huge boost thanks to the two lively speedsters, with Jese hugging the left flank and Bale sticking closely to the right touchline.
Madrid were now able to push forward with renewed vigor and in greater numbers, as Celta found themselves pushed ever-further back.
The first goal came from another Carvajal cross, which this time ended up at the feet of an unmarked Jese at the back post.
Having that one extra man in the box made all the difference, as Jese was able to find Benzema, who turned the ball into the net to make it 1-0.
That goal changed the whole dynamic of the game, as Celta Vigo were no longer able to defend in the same numbers.
The difference can be seen moments later, as they send more men forward than they had at any stage of the game to that point:
Ronaldo was now able to find space in more advanced positions, and he benefited from a Carvajal cross, and another from Bale, to notch a late double which secured the result for Madrid.
Celta Vigo had executed their game plan perfectly for over an hour, but Real Madrid's ability to inject players of the caliber of Bale and Jese in the second half swung the game in their favor.
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