Ronaldo 73, 86
A Cristiano Ronaldo double was enough to get past Valencia and stay in touch with Barcelona at the top of La Liga. Valencia put up a spirited fight and could have got themselves a point from the game however, those hopes diminished in the second half when Captain David Albelda was controversially sent off to give Madrid the extra man.
Madrid were looking to get back on track after their humiliating defeat to Barcelona last weekend. Sergio Ramos was suspended following his second red card in as many weeks. Ricardo Carvalho was also suspended Ronaldo was included in the squad after recovering from an inflamed tendon. It was a lively start from the home side as they dominated early possession well aware that three points was a must. Madrid were given a warning of the potential threat that Valencia offer as a corner kick fell to the unmarked Roberto Soldado who blasted over from 10 yards out.
The first real opening for Real came after 35 minutes, it was Sami Khedira who broke down the middle and was one on one with Saul and was denied his first goal for Los Blancos. Ozil came close shortly after from a free kick on the edge of the box, an angle that suited the German’s left foot rather than Ronaldo’s power, but the shot was saved by the Valencia goalkeeper once again. Madrid were struggling to find the form that has seen them win all six home games this season. The absence of Gonzalo Higuain has left a big hole in attack, the Argentine is expected to be out for up to two months. On the stroke of half time Ronaldo met a cross from Di Maria and he saw his clever flick hit the outside of the post, and the teams went in at the break all square.
Jose Mourinho appeared to have fired his team up during the break and his players came out all guns blazing, and could have opened the scoring within minutes of the restart .First Ronaldo was denied by Guaita in the 47 minute and moment’s later substitute Angel Di Maria failed to lob the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation. The sending off of David Albelda proved pivotal. Moments after Albelda was dismissed Madrid took the lead, Mesut Ozil it was that provided the ball to Ronaldo who neatly finished with his left foot. Valencia forward Soldado had the chance to level the game up shortly after, but put his finish wide of the right post. As the visitors began to get tired Real hit them on the break, Ronaldo delivering the killer blow with a wonderful individual goal to keep him top of the Pichichi.
Real Madrid remain in second two points behind Barcelona. Los Blancos’ next league game is a visit to Real Zaragoza next Sunday.
7 Arbeloa – 18 Albiol – 3 Pepe – 12 Marcelo
24 Khedira – 14 Xabi Alonso – 10 L Diarra
23 Ozil – 22 Di Maria – 7 Ronaldo
63 – 6 M Diarra on for 22 Di Maria
76 – 9 Benzema on for 24 Khedira – 83 – 11 Granero on for 23 Ozil