Spanish League: Day 20


Real Madrid goes low on gasoline. The rotations do not work and Mourinho acknowledges that the team is physically demanding hard hit after January: "We note the emotional and physical fatigue and the Cup competition in which we come later"

Cristiano Ronaldo, Di Maria, Özil, Xabi Alonso, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Carvalho,Casillas ... The list of untouchables for Mou is so broad that there is little rest for the eight players who do not rotate. And when the Portuguese coach gives the alternative players like Kaka, Granero and Gago, the experiment is short as happened against Mallorca at the Bernabeu.

"I decided to change some players because we will play a big game on Wednesday in Sevilla and I know I cannot make eleven changes because the team is suffering" said Mourinho.

The coach used a rotation system, leaving Xabi Alonso and Ozil on the bench in favour of Gago, Kaka and Granero due to the exhaustion the Spanish Cup is inflicting on the team. The starting lineup logically suffered from the changes and didn't look comfortable on the pitch. Mallorca didn't experience much of a threat and even dared to venture in attack on occasion: Nsue hit one of the posts on the 13-minute mark. Real Madrid kept possession throughout most of the first half, but had no chances on goal.

Ozil and Alonso came on for Gago and Kaka in the second half and the team changed its attitude immediately. Ozil added his speed and vision to the team's game, while Alonso helped it keep possession longer and make faster counterattacks. Nevertheless, minutes still went by without any goals scored and the crowd started to seem nervous.

That's when Benzema pulled rank. He controlled the ball outside the box, stepped inside and, following a quick move to take aim, scored the winner (60'). As soon as this happened, Mourinho made Lass come on for Granero. Mallorca kept trying to score, leaving open spaces the Whites could easily use to counterattack.

Benzema and Cristiano celebrate the goal of the Frenchman
Benzema scored the goal of the match

Cristiano Ronaldo nearly netted a second strike from a free-kick, but his shot was just off target. The Portuguese forward had a chance minutes later from a header, but he sent the ball to the crossbar. Webo and Nsue kept trying to score an equaliser for the visitors, and Benzema nearly scored again, but his shot was saved by keeper Aouate. Iker Casillas was also forced to make a decisive save to clear a shot by Webo just before the end.

Tirelessly and without changes, the performance of Real Madrid has been decreasing in recent games. The draw in Almeria and the victories by the minimum in the Cup derby and against Mallorca have denoted the Real Madrid's physical slump. Team has lost freshness.

And there is still the worst. First, the battle of Pizjuán on Wednesday, then another even tougher into enemy territory, the "Reyno de Navarra". Mourinho pressed to his men: the first final of the season and stay alive in the league are at stake. Almost nothing.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 75,000
Goals: 1-0, m.61: Benzema.

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