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Madrid’s title hopes all but over as Osasuna upstage Galacticos


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By Tom Callingham

Monday 31 January 2011

OSASUNA 1 Camunas 62
REAL MADRID 0


Camunas' 60th minute goal proved to be decisive as Osasuna held Madrid to pick up three valuable points. The defeat saw Madrid fall seven points behind league leaders Barcelona and their title hopes hanging by a thread.


Madrid have been struggling for form in La Liga coming into Sunday evenings game; a lack luster one-nil win against Mallorca, and a one all draw with Almeria was not the sort of form Real need if they are to catch a brilliant Barcelona team, who won convincingly this weekend against Hercules - the only team they have lost to in the league this season.


Against Osasuna, Madrid continued with their 4-2-3-1 formation, but with Lassana Diarra and Alvaro Arbeloa coming in for Xabi Alonso (who was fit enough for a place on the bench) and Marcelo. In midfield Sami Khedira and Diarra were tasked with shielding the back four and feeding the more creative players ahead of them. Karim Benzema led the attack for Real with Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil playing off him in a fluid manner, while Angel Di Maria was tasked with a more disciplined role down the right flank, though he did on occasion switch sides with Ronaldo.


Madrid started the game the better of the two sides, controlling possession without creating any clear cut openings; it was apparent that they missed the influence of Alonso from his deep-lying role.


Osasuna defended deep and aggressively and did a good job of containing Real, while still managing to threaten at the other end, with chances falling to Sergio Fernandez and Walter Pandiani.


Frustration grew for Madrid when the hosts broke the deadlock with little warning: Carlos Aranda took control of a punt up field and fed a ball through a back line that had temporary switched off, leaving Javier Camunas to duly finished.


Jose Mourinho reacted quickly with three changes, bringing on Alonso, Kaka and new loan signing Emanuel Adebayor. However these changes only seemed to disjoint a Real Madrid side that on the day had failed to find any real fluency. As the game progressed it became more ill-tempered, there were 11 bookings in total, as Osasuna were content to waste time.


In the last 20 minutes Madrid were content to get the ball forward as quickly as possible, looking to hit Benzema or Adebayor early. Although Madrid created a lot a pressure they never really looked like getting back in to the game, and were largely reduced to shots from range. Osasuna had a late chance to kill the game, but it was blocked on the line.


What was alarming for Real was the lack of fluency and creativity without Alonso in the side. When forced to chase the, Madrid lost their shape and cohesion. The result is very damaging for Mourinho’s side. It would seem the with a seven point gap, and unfavorable head to head record and an inferior goal difference, the La Liga title is beyond Madrid unless Barcelona’s takes a significant tip.


Starting XI


1 Casillas


4 Ramos – 2 Carvalho - 18 Albiol - 17 Arbeloa


24 Khedira – 10 Diarra


22 Di Maria – 23 Ozil – 7 Ronaldo


9 Benzema


Substitutions:
65 mins 6 Adebayor on for 10 Diarra, 14 Alonso on for 22 Di Maria and 8 Kaka on for 18 Albiol



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