3 major talking points as Celtic suffer defeat on Champions League return against Real Madrid

The Hoops matched the European champions for 45 minutes before the Spanish giants displayed their class

Real Madrid ran out convincing 3-0 winners against Celtic in their opening Champions League group stage fixture, but Ange Postecoglou’s side were rightly applauded off the pitch for their performance.

The Scottish champions started the game brightly in front of a hostile Parkhead atmosphere and should have taken a narrow lead into the break, with Liel Abada and Callum McGregor both coming close in the opening 45 minutes.

However, Los Blancos seized control early in the second half and looked much stronger as they finally broke the deadlock through Vinicius Junior after 56 minutes following a free-flowing move.

Eden Hazard then teed up Luka Modric to side-foot home at the second attempt just four minutes later before Dani Carvajal’s low cross from the right was stoked home by the lurking Hazard to seal the points.

However, it was far from a dispiriting night for Celtic on their return to the promised land as they continued to fight to the final whistle and still looked a threat going forward, with substitute Sead Haksabanovic forcing Thibaut Courtois into a smart save.

GlasgowWorld reflects on the three main talking points from an entertaining tie...

Celtic go toe-to-toe with Madrid for 45 minutes

Ange Postecoglou vowed to take the game to the reigning European champions pre-match and certainly delivered in the first-half, making life for Real Madrid.

It took a while for the visitors to combat the Hoops attacking threat and Celtic deserved to take the lead midway through the opening period when Abada failed to round off a superb counter-attacking move.

McGregor thundered an effort off the inside of the post moments later and at the opposite end, the hosts were able to limit Real’s dangerman Karim Benzema threat, who was later forced off injured on the half hour mark.

The home fans inside Parkhead will have been proud of the way their side more than matched the Champions League holders for 45 minutes.

Hoops punished for failing to take their chances

Despite Abada and McGregor misses, Celtic created a number of other opportunities that might not have been as threatening but ultimiately proved to be the difference between the two teams.

It took a while for Real Madrid to hit their stride but once they did and Celtic’s intensity began to drop, Carlo Ancelotti’s side took advantage and scored well-crafted goals.

Every time the ball landed at the feet of Luka Modric or Federico Valverde, Real looked a potent threat and had the home side on the back-foot for the majority of the second half.

This was a hard lesson on the biggest European stage for Celtic. They simply could not afford to pass up the chances they did against an opponent who will ruthlessly punish you.

Galacticos display class in dominant second half

Real Madrid, who were second best during the opening 45 minutes, looked a changed team after the break, with former Chelsea star Eden Hazard pulling the strings.

The Belgian took up some brilliant attacking positions and displayed flashes of quality that ultimiately earned him his move to Madrid.

Once Vinicius Junior’s composed finish hit the back of the net there was only going to be one winner from that point onwards.

It helped to eleviate some of the pressure and allowed Los Blancos to knock the ball around the pitch in a confident and precise manner.

The tie was wrapped up in the final quarter of an hour when Hazard rounded off a stunning 33-pass move to tap home their third goal.