Celtic 0-3 Real Madrid: Player ratings as Los Blancos outlast Hoops

Real Madrid’s defence of their Champions League title began with a hard-fought 3-0 win at Celtic.

Ange Postecoglou’s side proved worthy adversaries for the European champions but eventually ran out of steam and fell to defeat on their return to the competition.

Celtic nearly took the lead inside 30 seconds when Liel Abada’s close-range effort was deflected into the side-netting by David Alaba.

A sweeping move from the hosts nearly set Georgios Giakoumakis through on goal, but again Alaba came to Real Madrid’s rescue with a huge block.

Abada then had a clearer sight of goal at the end of a counter attack from a corner, but he couldn’t quite get a clean strike away and Thibaut Courtois denied him.

Reo Hatate was next to force the Belgian’s hand with a strike from range, before Callum McGregor’s shot thundered against the post as Celtic’s fast start continued.

Real Madrid’s first opportunity of note came when Federico Valverde cut inside of Jota and let fly, but his effort sailed wide of Joe Hart’s net.

Eden Hazard – brought on for the injured Karim Benzema – spurned a great chance after meeting Dani Carvajal’s deep cross, but he couldn’t get a solid contact on it and the ball bounced harmlessly out of play.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men were finally clicking into gear, with Hazard turning provider for Vinicius Junior to sprint away despite suspicions of offside, with Joe Hart standing tall to deny the Brazilian.

Substitute Daezen Maeda should have put Celtic ahead when he was first to Josip Juranovic’s searing cross, but he couldn’t sort his feet out and the ball trickled into Courtois’ grateful arms.

Real Madrid took a 56th-minute lead after Valverde’s terrific low cross was converted by Vinicius Junior, who to that point had contributed very little.

Luka Modric doubled the advantage minutes later after Hazard carried the ball into the area and teed up the Croatian, who rode a challenge from Moritz Lenz and fired past Hart.

The visitors added a cruel third when Toni Kroos’ ball over the top was knocked back across goal by Dani Carvajal, and Hazard was on hand to tap in.

Sead Haksabanovic came off the bench and forced Courtois into a strong save at his near post, but Real clung on to keep a clean sheet.