Real Madrid 3 - 1 Zaragoza (Spanish League Day 21)

Real Madrid began their run in the return leg of La Liga after their brilliant performance against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. Zaragoza visited the Bernabeu and netted the opener due to mild relaxation from the Whites, but Cristiano Ronaldo and company made the team turn the score around with their excellent goal scoring skills.

Özil and Granero managed the comeback

Altintop, Benzema, Marcelo, Granero and Carvalho made the starting lineup. Zaragoza waited in their half of the pitch for a chance to counterattack while Real Madrid played a slower game than they are accustomed to. Benzema had a chance to score the first strike of the evening from a header that was off target (6') and the visitors netted the opener four minutes later through Lafita, who scored inside the box after being assisted by Aranda.

Kaka became the most active local player in the first half and scored the equaliser from his third chance after receiving a pass from Carvalho (31'). Zaragoza never reached Casillas' goal again in the remainder of the first 45 minutes.

Real upped their pace after half-time and Ronaldo tallied a second inside the box after receiving a formidable assist by Ozil (49'). Looking for a third, the German midfielder surprised Roberto with an amazing shot in the area and gave his team a comfortable lead (56').

Lass came on for Alonso on the 60-minute mark and Kaka received a standing ovation when he was replaced by Callejon six minutes later. Zaragoza had one more chance when Postiga had a clear shot, but Casillas saved the day (71').

Higuain came on for Benzema one minute after that and Real started playing a less intense game, which allowed Zaragoza to have more possesion though without posing much of a threat. Mourinho's men looked for a counterattack to seal the match and Marcelo ended up injuring himself. With no substitutions left, the coach positioned him in midfield and used Callejon as a left back.

The Whites were basically one man down in the final minutes of the match, but they didn't suffer and kept their lead to remain table toppers in La Liga.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 67,000
Goals: 0-1, m.10: Lafita. 1-1, m.31: Kaká. 2-1, m.49: Cristiano Ronaldo. 3-1, m.56: Özil.


Barcelona 2 - 2 Real Madrid (Cup Quarterfinals 2nd Leg)

One more goal. That's all Real Madrid needed to reach the Copa del Rey semifinals. The Whites gave a masterclass in pride and courage, deserving to score the opener from several clear chances. Barcelona eventually netted two in the last five minutes of the first half, but Real never gave up, making a comeback and coming close to netting a third that would have given them the pass.

Football was unfair with Real Madrid, who just 15 seconds into the game had a clamorous chance to score when Higuain's shot was off target when he was facing Pinto alone. A perfect counterattack begun by Kaka with a pass down the left for Ronaldo also proved dangerous, but Alves and Pinto managed to clear the striker's shot (10'). The Whites reached their opponent's box with ease and they could have scored again on the 18-minute mark had the referee awarded a penalty when Busquets used his hands to clear a Pepe header.

The Madridistas were setting the pace to the match and managed to silence the stands. Ozil gave them another scare with an amazing 25-meter shot that hit the crossbar (25'), and Pinto managed to clear an Higuain strike inside the box two minutes later. It was a miracle that Barça hadn't yet conceded a goal, and fate had it they would end up scoring the opener from the first chance they had through Pedro, who finished off a Messi pass (42'). It was a harsh blow and Alves banked a second strike from outside the box in injury time.

Real Madrid never give up and came out from the dressing room fighting for a comeback when the crowd thought it was all over. Mourinho refreshed his side with Granero, Callejon and Benzema, who came on for Lass, Higuain and Kaka. Their first strike finally arrived when Ozil served a perfect pass through the lines to Ronaldo, who overtook Puyol, dribbled past Pitno and sent the ball in with his right foot.

The crowd became a little restless and was soon silenced when Benzema pulled off a masterpiece by receiving a head pass from Callejon, sending the ball over Puyol and scoring the equaliser with his right foot. Mourinho's men continued looking for a winner and nearly found it again through Benzema, who dribbled past Puyol but didn't manage to net another goal.


Stadium: Nou Camp
Attendance: 95,400
Goals: 1-0, min.42: Pedro. 2-0, min.46+: Alves. 2-1. min.68: Cristiano Ronaldo. 2-2, min.71: Benzema.


Real Madrid 4 - 1 Athletic Bilbao (Spanish League Day 1)

Real Madrid sealed the first leg of La Liga with a victory over Athletic Bilbao that keeps them at the top of the table with a five-point cushion over the runners-up. Marcelo, Ronaldo and Callejon scored the goals that followed Llorente's opener. Ozil served as master of ceremonies in the second half, during which the Madridistas netted three of their strikes.

Great Marcelo´s performance in a difficult match

The match started with the emotive tribute the Santiago Bernabeu crowd paid to the late Jose Ribot, a true Madridista who sadly died on Saturday. The opening minutes were somewhat uphill for the Whites and Llorente netted the opener from a cross by Javi Martinez (12'). Granero (one of the new faces on the starting lineup alongside Marcelo, Varane, Kaka, Ozil and Arbeloa) tried for an equaliser with two long shots that Iriazoz managed to grab. Real Madrid upped the pace to the match, but Athletic didn't falter and continued to prove dangerous in Casillas' box; indeed, De Marcos missed a clear chance to score from a clearance the keeper was forced to make from a shot by Muniain (18').

Madrid started to dominate. Cristiano passed the ball to Ozil and received it back from the German to look for Marcelo, who then defeated Iriazoz following a triangulation with Benzema (24'). Athletic wanted to get back in the lead and, just before half-time, Llorente sent the ball off target in a one-on-one with Casillas (38').

The Whites seemed to have more resolve in the second half and Iturraspe brought Kaka down inside the box one minute after the whistle. Ronaldo converted the penalty with a shot through the top corner of the goal and gave his team the lead. Later on, Ozil was challenged in the box as he tried to finish off a head pass from Benzema. The French striker scored, but the goal was disallowed because the referee had already awarded the penalty, which was again converted by Ronaldo (66').

Mourinho made changes to give his team a breather, bringing on Lass, Higuain and Callejon. The Argentine hit the post, but Callejon had better luck after being assisted by him (85'). The match ended with a victory especially dedicated to Jose, Marta and Oscar, the Ribot family. The triumph keeps the Whites in the lead with a five-point cushion over Barcelona, whom they'll face again in the return leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals at the Camp Nou.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 79,000
Goals: 0-1 Min. 12 Fernando Llorente,1-1 Min. 24 Marcelo, 2-1 Min. 47 Cristiano Ronaldo,3-1 Min.66 Cristiano Ronaldo, 4-1 Min. 85 Callejón.
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