Ten-man Real Madrid edged Celta Vigo 3-1 in their La Liga opener at the Estadio Balaídos on Saturday.
Luka Modric was handed a straight red card in the 56th minute following a VAR review in which officials deemed he intentionally clipped the back-heel of Celta’s Denis Suarez during a seemingly innocuous challenge on the sideline.
Being a man down didn’t slow Real, however, and Toni Kroos doubled the visitors’ lead five minutes later — the Germany international firing a thunderous strike from well outside the area past Ruben Blanco and off the underside of the crossbar before bouncing into the top of the net.
Zinedine Zidane’s men added a third with 10 minutes remaining when substitute Lucas Vazquez beat Blanco from the right of the box after being found in space by a clever layoff from Benzema.
Celta pulled a goal back a minute into second-half stoppage-time through a fine Iker Losada strike from a tight angle on the right. But the hosts could not muster any more and Real left town with a deserved opening win.
Madrid next play Valladolid in their La Liga home opener next Saturday.