Celtic praised for 'putting fear' into Real Madrid as Spanish press react to 'Scottish hell' in Champions League opener
The match may have ended in a convincing 3-0 win to the reigning European champions, courtesy of second-half strikes from Vinicius Junior, Luka Modric and Eden Hazard, but the story could have been very different had Celtic taken any of the glorious chances that they created before half-time.
Liel Abada twice failed to beat Thibaut Courtois in a one-on-one while Callum McGregor thundered a shot against the inside of the post that somehow stayed out. Even after the break, substitute Daizen Maeda should have put the hosts ahead but fluffed his lines from close range.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo described Celtic Park as the "Scottish hell" as they reported on the home side's start to the match that had Madrid on the racks.
They wrote: "The Scots, European champions in 1967 with players born in the streets near Celtic Park, shone guided by the feet of the Japanese Hatate, the foresight of the Portuguese Jota and the honor of the Scotsman McGregor, this one from the house. He felt a shot to the Madrid post in the 20th minute and shook the foundations of Glasgow.
“You will never walk alone” (“You will never walk alone”), sang the Celtic field while the footballers jumped onto the pitch. So it was. The Scottish champion, pushed by a colossal crowd, overwhelmed Madrid from the start. Intense in pressure and vertical in the counterattack, he did not let the whites breathe. Ancelotti's players lived mentally and footballingly caged during the first fifty minutes of the game. Erratic in ball delivery, imprecise in three quarters of the field and dependent only on Vinicius . Always Vinicius, who ended up freeing the white team from the demons."
El Correo also commented on Madrid's "notable suffering" in the "green hell of Glasgow", adding: "Celtic's brave outing to the field immediately put fear into Real Madrid's body, whose lukewarm staging was the reverse of the ardor with which the local fans catapulted the Hoops into an initial half hour of extreme suffering for the squad of Ancelotti."
Madrid newspaper ABC were left impressed by Celtic's pressing game. "Two and even three went for Vinicius, as if they were going to steal his mobile," they wrote.
On Celtic's fast start they added: "With perfect continuity, the great atmosphere in the stands was transferred by Celtic to the pitch. It had a pressing, offensive and brave start that made Madrid tiptoe from the start. It wasn't just the pressure, Celtic didn't give a break; I wanted to surprise in the serves, in the breaks, in the fouls, even the referee seemed to be demanding."
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