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La Liga

Real Madrid tops the standings after crushing Celtic

With a 5-1 victory over Celtic, European champions, Real Madrid advanced to the Champions League last 16 as Group F winners on Wednesday.

Luka Modric and Rodrygo scored first-half penalties for handballs, giving Madrid a commanding advantage, while Josip Juranovic missed for the bottom-of-the-group Scots.

Vinicius Junior scored the fourth goal from a Fede Valverde cross, and the Uruguayan himself added a fifth. Marco Asensio scored the third goal early in the second half on what turned out to be a breeze for the record-setting 14-time champion.

With a 4-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk, the German team moved into second place with their comprehensive victory over Ange Postecoglou's team, which was snatched by an impressive Jota free kick.

Madrid was grateful to get back to winning ways after suffering their first defeat of the season in all competitions against Leipzig last week and then drawing with Girona in La Liga. Celtic provided Madrid with not one but two helping hands.

"Getting back to winning ways in a game like this, with a lot of goals, was the most important thing, to finish first in the group."It was a wonderful day," Rodrygo stated to Movistar.

"(The knockouts) will be hard again, it will be hard, there are no easy teams left, and they can all make life difficult for us, whoever we get," the statement reads.

Overtaking former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson as the current holder of the record, Carlo Ancelotti won the 103rd Champions League game of his managerial career.

Even though the Ballon d'Or winner started on the bench before making an appearance in the second half, the Italian was successful in re-inviting Karim Benzema to the matchday squad.

When Modric sent Joe Hart in the wrong direction from the penalty spot and Moritz Jenz handled while attempting to stop Valverde's rampaging in the box, Madrid quickly took the lead.

Stephanie Frappart had a busy night at the Santiago Bernabeu, awarding three first-half penalties, making her the first woman to referee Madrid in the Champions League.

The hosts should have had a second goal when Hart saved Vinicius from close range after Valverde set him up, much like they did with the goal against Girona on Sunday.

On the other hand, just a few seconds later, they were awarded a second penalty for another handball on a shot by Rodrygo, but the Brazilian scored it calmly.

Thibaut Courtois stayed alert at the other end to block a drive from Kyogo Furuhashi, and Vinicius missed a great chance to end the game by shooting over the bar after a good pass from his Brazilian teammate Rodrygo.

Before the break, Celtic had a chance to get back into the game, but Courtois saved Juranovic's penalty kick after Ferland Mendy tripped Liel Abada.

Asensio scored the third goal for Madrid early in the second half, finishing well from just inside the area after being set up by Dani Carvajal. Vinicius scored the fourth goal, converting Valverde's cross with skill.

Benzema came on for the final third of the game for Ancelotti, and the French forward took over as captain shortly after Modric got a break.

Valverde scored Madrid's fifth goal from close range, his eighth of the season, moving closer to Ancelotti's 10-goal goal total.

Valverde stated to Movistar, "Many people around me were right, I had to take advantage of the shot I have."

"They jokingly say that one day I'll burst the ball."

However, Celtic and Jota scored the night's goal, sending a free kick from the Portuguese winger past Courtois and into the upper corner at the final whistle.

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Ange F Luka Modric Real Madrid Uruguayan


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