Real Madrid 1 Celta Vigo 2: Van Nistelrooy dropped as Real drift to home defeat

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The Independent Football

As if Sir Alex Ferguson's weekend had not been pleasing enough, two of the players he decided to move on continue to flounder away from Old Trafford, both David Beckham and Ruud Van Nistelrooy starting on the bench for Real Madrid last night, coming on as second-half substitutes but finishing up on the losing side.

Van Nistelrooy was dropped so that a still overweight Ronaldo could start up front and Beckham, who has not started a home match since the first game of the season, watched his seventh La Liga match of the campaign from the bench.

Without the former United pair, Real struggled in the first half, going behind to a neat Nene finish from a quick Celta counter-attack, but levelling through an Emerson header from a Raul corner just before half-time.

The first 45 minutes was poor enough for the the Real manager, Fabio Capello, to make two half-time changes, throwing Van Nistelrooy on up front alongside Ronaldo and introducing Jose Antonio Reyes.

There was no improvement and Ronaldo made way for Beckham on 65 minutes with Capello admitting afterwards the Brazilian was struggling with cramp.

Beckham combined well down the right with full-back Sergio Ramos, who had a shot well saved, and Van Nistelrooy caused problems without ever sniffing out a clear-cut chance. But on 82 minutes Reyes lost possession and Jorge Larena-Avella rifled in the loose ball for Celta's winner.

The defeat was Capello's first home reverse in his two spells in charge of Real. He sought to gloss over it afterwards, saying: "We had seven or eight chances to score ourselves but we gifted them two clear-cut opportunities and they made us pay."

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Ramos, Helguera, Cannavaro, Roberto Carlos; Emerson, Diarra (Van Nistelrooy, h-t); Raul, Guti, Robinho (Reyes, h-t); Ronaldo (Beckham, 65).Substitutes not used: D Lopez (gk), Mejia, Bravo, Pavon.

Celta Vigo (4-2-3-1): Pinto; A Lopez, Contreras, Lequi, Placente; Ininey, Oubina; Nunez (Tamas, 84), Canobbio (Jorge, 75), Nene (Jonathan, 81); Baiano. Substitutes not used: Esteban (gk), Vila, Guayre, Perera.

Referee: P Lasa (Spain).

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