Zinedine Zidane enjoyed a victorious return to the Real Madrid dugout as goals from Isco and Gareth Bale, restored to the starting lineup after he took over from Santiago Solari, gave his side a comfortable 2-0 win over Celta Vigo.
Isco opened the scoring early in the second half after Luka Modric had seen a strike ruled out following a VAR review, with Bale wrapping the points up late on.
Celta were forced into an early change when David Junca tweaked a hamstring and was replaced by Wesley Hoedt, and they were on the back foot as Marcelo fired in an early cross that just eluded Karim Benzema.
With 10 minutes played Marcelo was again in the thick of the action, setting up Isco for a close-range shot that was blocked, but moments later Zidane’s side were in danger, Keylor Navas making a fine stop from Maxi Gomez‘s header.
As the half-hour approached, Madrid threatened when Toni Kroos, given space to advance into, saw his dipping strike brush the roof of the net on its way over.
Bale almost broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion on the half-hour, his scissor kick crashing off the bar, and Sergio Ramos glanced a close-range header wide from a corner after Marcelo’s strike was saved.
Sofiane Boufal had a strike blocked as Celta asked some questions, but Bale put Madrid back on the attack and set up Marco Asensio, who was brought down just outside the area for a free kick that came to nothing.
Bale was booked in the final minute of the half for catching Kevin with an elbow as Zidane’s first 45 minutes back at the Bernabeu passed without a goal.
Marcelo made another threatening run into the Celta area at the start of the second half, his low cross scrambled away, and then Bale escaped a second booking for a clattering challenge on Boufal.
Madrid thought they had broken through after 56 minutes when the ball fell to Modric on the edge of the area and his bouncing strike went in — but a VAR review found that Raphael Varane had been offside and impeding the goalkeeper’s view.
But a goal arrived only six minutes later after a flowing move that ended with Isco finishing crisply after Asensio and Benzema had linked stylishly for the latter to cross from the right.
Bale had the chance to double the advantage moments later but scuffed his strike, and with the game heading into its last 20 minutes Zidane replaced scorer Isco with Dani Ceballos.
Benzema had a volley stopped after Bale had created the opening — but Wales star Bale sealed victory after 77 minutes, Marcelo creating the space for him to fire in off the post.