Real Madrid 2 - 2 B. Dortmund (Champions League, Day 4)

Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund played an exciting match in the Bernabeu. The Whites were losing until the 89th minute, but managed to equalise in a match that they deserved to win from what they showed in the second half. Reus put the visitors ahead in the 28th minute and, as happened in Dortmund, Real Madrid needed little time to level up the match. Pepe, five minutes later, scored his first goal for Real Madrid in the Champions League. On half-time, luck was against the team and Arbeloa, whilst attempting to clear the ball, scored the away team’s second goal. The second half was one-sided in favour of the home team their effort got what it deserved with a great Özil goal from a direct free-kick. The Whites, who had a goal from Callejon wrongfully disallowed, are just one point off of the lead and are ahead of their next two opponents Ajax and Manchester City who are on three on five points respectively. All to play for in the 'group of death'.

Casillas on the field after receiving the second goal of Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid could not defeat Dortmund for the second time

League champions and top scorer this season's Champions League against the Bundesliga winners and one of the few remaining unbeaten teams in the competition. A great night of football was on offer in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium and the match did not disappoint anyone. With Varane and Xabi Alonso as the only changes from the previous match, Real Madrid made their intentions clear from the beginning. In fact, Higuaín had the first chance of the match following a long pass from Ramos but he missed by inches in a one-on-one with Weidenfeller. The Germans did not flinch at this initial warning and they continued to play their own game with the ball at their feet.

The match was balanced, exciting and very back and forth. It was played at a frantic pace and the chances came one after another. Schmelzer, following a great assist from Reus, found himself in front of Casillas, but the Whites’ ‘keeper successfully stopped the shot in the 9th minute. The home team had an opportunity 13 minutes later. Higuain’s lay off for Ronaldo who he arriving in the area, but the Portuguese’s shot went over the bar.

Everything indicated that there were goals on there way. That is what happened, although it was the Germans who struck first in the 28th minute. A long pass which was flicked on with a head from Lewandowski and Reus controlled the ball with his chest and finished with a sharply taken volley. 0-1 and everything going against the home team. It was the moment to react and the Whites did so, as they did in the previous match played in Dortmund. In Signal Iduna Park the reply came two minutes later, today it took four more to level the match. Varane won the ball on the edge of the opposition’s penalty area and played the ball to Özil, who crossed from the right wing. Pepe, who had gone up for the corner in the preceding passage of the play, finished with a header. 1-1 and the Portuguese’s first goal in the Champions League for Real Madrid. The defender kissed the club’s crest in celebration and lifted the Santiago Bernabeu crowd who increased the decibels hoping for the winning goal.

Real Madrid pressed and tried to put the Borussia on the ropes, but when it seemed as though the break would arrive with the scores level, the Germans’ second goal came. It was very similar to the away team’s first goal. Hummels again cleared the ball long and Lewandowski flicked it on. The ball fell at the feet of Grosskreutz, who played a perfect first touch pass for the arriving Götze. The Whites had some bad luck as Arbeloa, whilst attempting to clear the ball, put it passed Casillas in the 45th minute.

Real Madrid made two changes at the break. Mourinho brought on Essien and Callejón for Modric and Higuaín, who had been clutching the back of the leg repeatedly during the first half. The Whites’ academy player needed just two minutes to score, but the goal was wrongfully ruled-out for offside. The Whites were completely blowing Borussia away. Real Madrid had two more chances inside the first quarter of an hour, both falling to the newly introduced Callejón, but he shot wide with the first in the 49th and straight at Weidenfeller with the other in the 60th minute.

The Whites’ coach, bravely went for broke and brought off Arbeloa for Kaka in the 76th minute. Three minutes later the Brazilian took the ball into the box and handed laid it off to Di Maria, who tried a pass with the outside of his foot and Ronaldo, in front of goal, saw his shot stopped by an inspired by Weidenfeller. The home side’s dominance was overwhelming and the Whites continued to great chances. Bad luck prevented them getting the equalising goal. That is the only way to explain how they did not score in the 85th minute. Callejon shot from inside the area and with the goalkeeper beaten Schmelzer appeared on the goal line and cleared the ball. The Whites did not give up and their efforts got their deserved reward in the 89th minute with a great goal for Özil from a direct free-kick. Another epic win was on, but it was not possible. Real Madrid, who are only one point off of the lead, are three points ahead of Ajax and five in front of Manchester City, who are their next two opponents.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 76,000
Goals: 0-1, m.28: Reus; 1-1, m.35: Pepe; 1-2, m.45: Arbeloa (o.g.); 2-2, m.88: Özil.


Real Madrid 4 - 0 Zaragoza (Spanish League, Day 10)

Real Madrid secured their sixth straight win in the Santiago Bernabéu stadium against Zaragoza, where they remain unbeaten. The Whites took less than half an hour to decide the match. Higuaín, in the 23rd minute, put his team ahead, scoring in his third straight match and Di María celebrated his 100th official match two minutes later. In the second half, Essien scored the third in the 89th minute and Modric completed the scoring in added time. The Whites’ third straight match without conceding a goal in the championship, who are now, along with Malaga, the team which has conceded the fewest goals in the competition. Also, Mourinho's 100th win, which makes him the coach who has reached this commendable figure the quickest. Excellent news ahead of the match this Tuesday against Dortmund as they mount their assault for the lead of the group in the Champions League.

Essien and Modric celebrate their goals against Zaragoza
Modric and Essien scored for the first time playing with Real Madrid jersey

Real Madrid could not have started the penultimate month of the year better. The Whites thrashed Zaragoza, who arrived at the Santiago Bernabéu hoping to make it three consecutive victories. With Albiol as a starter in centre of the defence and Essien y Modric sharing central midfield, the Whites dominated from the start and with the intention of getting their sixth straight win at home, where they remain unbeaten. At least that was what they showed in the first 20 minutes, in which the home team had two chances against the team from Aragon’s zero. Both chances came in the form of Ronaldo headers, but the first went just inches wide of the goal defended by Roberto in the 14th minute and the second, in the 18th, went high.

Zaragoza took their time to create a threat on Casillas' goal, but did so with dangerous diagonal shot from Helder Postiga in the 20th minute forcing the Whites’ academy player into a great full length dive to save it. The move woke Real Madrid up, who inside just five minutes decided the game. Higuaín was the first to score in the 23rd minute. Modric was responsible for taking the corner and Albiol headed towards goal. Roberto’s stop deserved a better result for the visitors, but the Argentine was there and he intelligently picked up the keeper’s deflection to score at his pleasure from the goal line. The third match in a row in which El Pipa has found the back of the net.

The second came thanks to Di María two minutes later and it was the best reward for his persistence. His initial cross hit Abraham, but the rebound fell back at El Fideo’s feet, who shot with a volley and again for a third time to beat Roberto, who had thwarted the Argentine’s second attempt. The first half-hour of the match was not yet completed and Real Madrid had already taken a decisive lead in the match with two goals that showed the strength of the punch that they can pack. They could have even got the third in the 27th minute but Ronaldo’s shot went wide of the far post from inside the area. It was the last clear chance to either team before the break.

Zaragoza came out braver in the second half, but their attacks were either foiled by the solid home defence or by an inspired Casillas. The latter is what happened when Víctor Rodríguez released a venomous shot in the 58th minute which was met with a superb response from the Whites’ keeper. The visitors went closer five minutes later, but the shot of José Mari from the edge of the area crashed against the crossbar.

Real Madrid turned their attentions to putting the match to bed, knowing that in three days they have a demanding match in the Champions League. Things went perfectly to plan and in the final minutes they finished off their opponent. Ronaldo, found the crossbar with a long range free-kick in the 84th minute which was a great introduction for what was to come. Essien, in the 89th minute, and Modric, in added time, scored their first goals for the club and completed the rout. The sixth consecutive home win and third straight match in which the Whites have finished with a clean sheet in the competition. Excellent news ahead of the match this Tuesday against Dortmund as they mount their assault for the lead of the group in the Champions League.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 72,000
Goals: 1-0 min. 23 Higuain; 2-0 min. 25 Di Maria; 3-0 min.89 Essien; 4-0 min. 92 Modric.
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