Isco, Bale get Zidane's second coming off to winning start

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on March 17, 2019 - Duration: 01:52s

Isco, Bale get Zidane's second coming off to winning start

Zidane makes triumphant return to Real Madrid as Isco and Bale net goals in 2-0 win over Celta Vigo

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Isco, Bale get Zidane's second coming off to winning start

SHOWS: MADRID, SPAIN (MARCH 16, 2019) (MEDIAPRO/LA LIGA - NO RESALE) 1.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REAL MADRID COACH ZINEDINE ZIDANE SAYING: (ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL TRANSLATION) "I felt pretty good today because in the end we got a good result which is what we are looking for.

An important result at that, the beginning of the match wasn't very good but I think that is normal as well, we had to be patient I think the end of the first half was better and of course was a lot better so I am happy." MADRID, SPAIN (MARCH 16, 2019)(STILL PHOTOS-MUTE)(REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 2.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF ISCO SCORING REAL MADRID'S FIRST GOAL 3.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF GARETH BALE SCORING REAL MADRID'S SECOND GOAL MADRID, SPAIN (MARCH 16, 2019) (MEDIAPRO/LA LIGA - NO RESALE) 4.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ZINEDINE ZIDANE SAYING: "Nobody here outside are going to take away what these players have done here.

And maybe what I do, I've got a squad of 23, 24, 25 players and I count on all of them." MADRID, SPAIN (MARCH 16, 2019)(STILL PHOTOS-MUTE)(REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 5.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF ZIDANE WATCHING THE MATCH 6.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF ZIDANE GESTURING MADRID, SPAIN (MARCH 16, 2019) (MEDIAPRO/LA LIGA - NO RESALE) 7.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ZIDANE SAYING: "I think the players that are here know that here we have to play football.

What I like to do is to play football and I like players that like to play football.

And the physical aspect is also important.

I saw football today but also a team that was good physically.

You know when you start bad but end well it means that physically you are good." MADRID, SPAIN (MARCH 16, 2019)(STILL PHOTOS-MUTE)(REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 8.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF ZIDANE WATCHING THE MATCH MADRID, SPAIN (MARCH 16, 2019) (MEDIAPRO/LA LIGA - NO RESALE) 9.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ZIDANE SAYING: "But this is just one game, there are players who are going with the national team but a lot also who are staying so we have two weeks now to train and work, that is what we are going to do." STORY: Zinedine Zidane's second spell as Real Madrid coach got off to a promising start with a 2-0 home win over Celta Vigo in La Liga on Saturday (March 16) thanks to goals from Isco and Gareth Bale, who had fallen out of favour with previous coach Santiago Solari.

Spain midfielder Isco was handed his first start in the league since October by returning hero Zidane and broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute by tapping in a low cross from Karim Benzema at close range.

Luka Modric had a goal ruled out for offside earlier in the second half and Bale, who had struck the crossbar in the first period, sealed victory with a shot in off the post in the 77th minute, further lifting the mood at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real are third in the standings with 54 points after 28 games, two behind second-placed Atletico Madrid who lost 2-0 at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, and nine points adrift of leaders Barcelona who play at Real Betis on Sunday.

This was not quite as resounding a performance as the 5-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna in Zidane's first game as Real coach in 2016.

Yet it was still a therapeutic win for a team who had looked lost since the Frenchman announced his resignation after last year's Champions League final and had recently suffered defeats by Ajax Amsterdam and Barcelona which had effectively ended their season.

Zidane had said on his return that changes were needed at Madrid after haphazard results had seen Julen Lopetegui sacked in October, his replacement Solari dismissed and the team left with no trophies left to fight for this season.

The Frenchman's line-up showed he was serious as he brought back goalkeeper Keylor Navas, as well as Isco and Marcelo into the side, players who had all started in the Champions League final win over Liverpool but had been cast aside by Solari.

"The players who played today did very well and I'll continue to count on them but I have a squad of 25 players and will count on all of them." Navas was called into action early to palm away a goal-bound header from Maxi Gomez, but Madrid had the better of the first half and nearly took the lead when Bale smashed against the bar, while Sergio Ramos and Toni Kroos also came close.

Madrid looked to have gone ahead when Modric's shot bounced into the net, but the goal was ruled out after a pitchside Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review ruled Raphael Varane had been offside and obstructing Celta goalkeeper Ruben Blanco's view.

Isco soon brought a smile back to the Bernabeu faithful by guiding Benzema's cross into the net after an impressive run by Marco Asensio.

Much has been said about whether Zidane's return could mean the end of Bale's career in Madrid, but the Wales forward capped a strong display by sealing victory, making it three goals in his last two games under Zidane and adding to the celebratory mood.

(Production: Annette Faydenko)

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