Saturday, April 30, 2011

Real Madrid 2-3 Zaragoza

Real Madrid suffered an unexpected upset against Zaragoza at the Bernabeu. The visiting side did its best to earn curcial points to avoid relegation, while the pace to Mourinho's game gruadually increased as the match unfolded. Real Madrid seemed to be thinking about Tuesday's clash in Barcelona and made decisive mistakes. History and tradition prevent them from giving up on their options in the Champions League, for which they will start preparing now.
Captains Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos presented the recently won Copa del Rey trophy to the Bernabeu crowd before the match kicked-off. Mourinho used the same lineup as in the team's spectacular victory against Valencia last week. On the other hand, Zaragoza based their offensive power on the speed of Lafita and Uche. The Whites lacked concentration in the opening minutes, but they didn't suffer to keep Aguirre's men in check since they barely reached Casillas' goal. Unfortunately, the goalkeeper failed to clear a ball on the 40-minute mark and Uche controlled it, then assisting Lafita in the opening strike.

The second half was decidedly different. Real Madrid pressurised much more in attack, stealing the ball in Zaragoza's half of the pitch. But the visitors managed to score again from a fast counterattack that ended in a penalty awarded to Lafita and converted by Gabi (53'). Mourinho brought Marcelo and Ozil on, the latter serving a corner kick on the 61-minute mark finished off perfectly by Ramos. With half an hour left on the clock, the Bernabeu started to roar in support of its team.

Controversy ensued when Lanzaro clearly challenged Kaka late inside the box and no penalty was awarded (65'). Once again, referees made a mistake in detriment of Real Madrid in an effort that could have been decisive. To everyone's greater despair, Benzema's shot three minutes later hit the corssbar.

Real Madrid sieged Zaragoza's goal, but the visitors scored from a fast counterattack started by Uche and finished off again by Lafita (76').

Benzema netted a brilliant crossed shot with six minutes left in the game (84') and the Whites believed a comeback was possible, but Carvalho was sent off with a second booking one minute after the goal and the team was down to ten. Kaka nearly scored an equaliser on the 92-minute mark, but his header was saved in two steps by keeper Doblas. There was no time for more. Real Madrid must now concentrate on turning the aggregate score around in the Champions League to reach the Wembley final.
The composition of players

Real Madrid : Casillas, Ramos, Garay, Carvalho, Nacho (Marcelo, 53 '), Pepe, Granero (Oezil, 60'); Kaka, Canales (Di Maria 53 '), Higuain, Benzema.

Real Zaragoza : Doblas; Diogo, Jarosik, Lanzaro (Pinter, 65 '), Silva, Obradovic (Paredes, 45'); Lopez, Ponzio, Gabi, Lafita (N'Daw, 89 '); Uche.

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