|Kaka returned to the goal|
Real Madrid entered the match against Valladolid with a desire to achieve their seventh consecutive victory at home. The start of the match made their objective look difficult. In fact, with eight minutes of the match having passed, and with their first shot on goal, the visitors were already ahead on the scoreboard. Oscar stole the ball and beat Diego Lopez in a one-on-one. The crowd were not made to wait long for the home team’s reaction. They pressed further up the pitch and in five minutes had two clear opportunities to equalise. Di Maria, with a volley in the ninth minute, and Modric, with a crossed shot in the twelfth minute both attempted to bring the Whites level.
Real Madrid increased their intensity and their hard work served to overturn the scoreboard in six minutes. The equaliser came halfway through the second half. Di Maria controlled the ball on the left wing, cut in and shot. The ball deflected off Marc Valiente and surprised the visitor’s goalkeeper in the twenty-sixth minute. They could have scored their second goal four minutes later. A free kick taken by Cristiano Ronaldo hit the wall and went centimetres over the Valladolid goal. The corner was taken by Modric and Pepe’s header forced Jaime, who had made a masterful save in the twenty-third minute to stop a Kaka shot from the penalty arc, to demonstrate his reflexes to the crowd. The series of chances came to an end with the header from Cristiano Ronaldo, which put the Whites ahead from the third consecutive cross from Di Maria in the same move. It was Portuguese’s thirty-second goal, which curiously arrived in the thirty-second minute.
The home side’s joy was short-lived. Omar crossed from the left wing and Javi Guerra, in the goalmouth, finished Valladolid’s counterattack in the thirty-fifth minute. Three goals had been scored in just under ten minutes; two for the home side and one for the visitors, but there was still time for a lot more in a thrilling first half. All the dangerous moves, however, were Real Madrid’s. The first, in the thirty-seventh minute, ended in a goal scored by Benzema, which was ruled out for offside. The second, two minutes before the end of the first half, crashed against the crossbar. Cristiano Ronaldo struck the free kick and the way in which the ball descended towards goal made it impossible for Jaime to react. The crowd attending the match didn’t have time to be bored. Four goals, one more ruled out, and a shot against the crossbar in 45 minutes. The second half promised much.
And boy did the second half live up to its promise. Real Madrid’s third goal came when the spectators were still taking their seats. Di Maria and Benzema combined, and Kaka finished the move in the forty-ninth minute with his left foot. The Whites, who started the second half in the best possible fashion, were once again ahead on the scoreboard and were enjoying themselves by surprising their opponent on the counterattack. The match, which changed completely in the twenty-sixth minute, continued to be played from end to end, which is always favourable for Real Madrid.
Mourinho then decided to bring on Xabi Alonso and Özil for Kaká and Di Maria. More than twenty-three minutes of normal time remained. However, the Whites sealed their victory long before. Özil took the corner and Cristiano Ronaldo, unbeatable in the air, headed the ball in to the net in the seventieth minute. The goal proved to be another example of the connection between the German and the Portuguese working to perfection. Sastre pulled a goal back for the visiting side in the eighty-seventh minute, but it was all too late. Real Madrid earned their seventh consecutive win at home and remains unbeaten at the Santiago Bernabeu this season.
Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Goals: 0-1, min. 8 , Oscar; 1-1, min. 26, Valiente (o.g.); 2-1, min. 33, Cristiano Ronaldo; 2-2, min. 36, Javi Guerra. 3-2, min. 47, Kaka; 4-2, min. 69, Cristiano Ronaldo; 4-3, min. 86, Sastre.