Monday, January 3, 2011

Spanish Premiera Round 17 - Getafe vs Real Madrid - Review

Real Madrid took honours in the Madrid derby after narrowly defeating Getafe 3-2 to cut back the gap between themselves and La Liga leaders Barcelona to just 2 points. A brace from Cristiano Ronaldo and a classy Mesut Oezil finish sealed the victory, although a Dani Parejo wonder goal for Getafe before half time put the game in doubt for the away side. Kaka’s return to action following 6 months on the sidelines with a knee injury was a major boost for Los Blancos, although Karim Benzema’s dismal form and a late red card for Arbeloa meant the away team had to work hard for the three points.

Heading into the match, Mourinho made several changes to his squad’s defensive line-up, due to the suspensions of Carvalho and Pepe; Ramos was pushed into the centre with Raul Albiol. Los Blancos began the game with confidence, and a penalty claim, a long range free kick and an attempted bicycle kick all from Ronaldo within the first 10 minutes ensured that the away team asserted their dominance over the hosts. However, Mourinho’s men were soon awarded a penalty after Angel Di Maria was pulled down controversially by Mane while making a run into the penalty box. While the referee pointed to the spot immediately, the Getafe players were outraged; however this was to no avail as Ronaldo calmly beat Codina.

Los Blancos were soon leading 2-0 when Di Maria made another dazzling run before sliding the ball to Oezil who ran around the goalkeeper and slotted his team’s second goal of the night at the near post. The hosts then began to apply the pressure on Madrid, with Rios and Parejo having numerous chances to pull one back for their team. Their efforts were soon awarded when poor defence by Arbeloa and Diarra allowed Parejo to try a long range effort which sailed past Casillas in the 29th minute.

Early in the second half, Ronaldo seemed to have ensured a Madrid victory with a clinical finish following Benzema’s interception of a poor clearance from Codina. Los Blancos could have put the match out of reach for the hosts when Benzema had two exceptional chances; his first effort was collected by Codina after failing to shoot early enough, while his second opportunity was side-netted. Moruinho was visibly frustrated by his striker’s inability to score on these occasions, and rumours that the Frenchman is leaving Madrid during this January transfer window now seem highly likely, despite the news that Gonzalo Higuian will be out for the rest of the season.

Kaka made his long-awaited return from injury in the 75th minute at the expense of Benzema, although his comeback was low-key with only one clear goal-scoring opportunity.

The home side kept on pressuring the Madrid defense, and when Arbeloa was sent off for a second yellow card, the possibility of a Getafe fightback became possible. The Spanish defender was deemed by the referee to have touched the ball with his hands, and his side was reduced to 10 men for the remaing 10 minutes. The hosts were awarded for their continous pressure on Madrid when substitute Albin netted Getafe’s second of the night after the ball bounced off Marcelo and landed directly in front of the Uruguayan. However Los Blancos managed to hold onto a solid victory in this Madrid derby and closed the gap to Barcelona to just 2 points.

With the Janurary transfer window now open, Mourinho must ensure that his side maintains full concentration on the pitch and does not let any unnecessary points slip past them. New signings, particularly in their attacking line-up, seem necessary now that it has been confirmed Higuian will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. Players such as Adebayor have been linked to the club within recent days, although results on the pitch remain the clear focus for now as Mourinho aims to close the gap to Barcelona.

Man of the Match: Angel Di Maria

By Alexander "Real Madrid" Novo (Twitter and Facebook Follower)