"Caught off guard on a throw-in"; Carlo Ancelotti highlights Real Madrid issue that suits Celtic

By Dave Flanigan

September 4, 2022

One of the many takeaways from Celtic’s 4-0 battering of their derby rivals Rangers yesterday, is how big a part Celtic’s intensity played in Ange Postecoglou’s side’s four goals.

Quickly-taken set pieces from free-kicks, to throw-ins to goal-kicks have become a feature of Celtic’s play under the Aussie, and yesterday was no different, as the champions punished their rivals for switching off, with Jota’s quickly taken throw-in leading to Liel Abada’s opener after only eight minutes.

With Real Madrid next up for Postecoglou’s side, the question will be how Celtic can hurt the European champions, and Carlo Ancelotti’s side’s 2-1 win over Real Betis yesterday just might provide an answer.

Photo By Irina R. Hipolito/Europa Press via Getty Images

Manuel Pellegrini’s side equalised in the 17th minute, Sergio Canales cancelling out Vinicius Jnr’s 10th minute lob, with the Betis goal having an intriguing parallel to Celtic’s first against Rangers.

From a Betis throw-in just shy of Real’s nearside corner flag, left-back Alex Moreno feigned to throw the ball backwards, before hurling it deep into Madrid’s box to find Borja Iglesias, who perfectly weighted a first-time lay-off for Canales to finish low under Thibaut Courtois in the Real Madrid goal.

Though Betis would eventually lose the game to Rodrygo’s 65th minute winner, it demonstrates that quick-thinking and ingenuity can catch out even the most elite sides, something that Celtic should keep in mind ahead of Tuesday’s glamour tie.

Ancelotti spoke of his side’s frailties after the match, and insisted that it was something they would look to address.

As reported by Marca (translated using DeepL Translate), Ancelotti said: “We have to take into account the goals conceded, today’s was a pretty bad mistake, we were caught off our guard on a throw-in. We have to improve these small situations, that’s true.”

Real have conceded in all four games so far this season, and despite their often peerless attacking play, can be suspect in defence as shown by the oft-crazy, goal-laden games that took them to last year’s Champions League final.

As if Postecoglou and Celtic needed any further encouragement to take the game to Real, the incentive is there to make life as difficult as possible for the European and La Liga champions.

In other news: Celtic daft EFL boss left buzzing with Bhoys derby win in Saturday post-match interview