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Deportivo La Coruña
12 April 2014
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera
• Attendance: 65896
Á. di María 28'
G. Bale 53'
Álvaro Morata 85'
That is it from me, Tom Webber, for this evening. Have a great night.
It was a confident, impressive performance from Madrid as they completely rolled over Almeria. Next up, Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final.
FULL TIME - Real Madrid 4-0 Almeria: Goals from Di Maria, Bale, Isco and Morata see los Blancos move above Barcelona, who lost to Granada earlier this evening, to join Atletico Madrid at the top. Almeria remain in the relegation zone, but just two points adrift of Real Valladolid in 17th position.
90' + 2'
There is the final whistle!
Two minutes of added time will be played.
Isco picks up the ball in the box and is surrounded by blue shirts. He knows he has to shoot quickly but he completely fluffs his lines, and his shot dribbles into Esteban's arms.
Almeria will also have an eye on that Atletico Madrid - Getafe game tomorrow, but they will be hoping for a win for Simeone's side or they could become further entrenched in the relegation zone!
Assist Asier Illarramendi
GOOOOOOOOAL! Illarramendi scoops a delightful pass into the box and Nelson's poor attempt at playing the offside trap enables Morata to go through clear on goal. He takes one touch before lifting an effort over the keeper and into the back of the bet. Superb!
So, Madrid are just a few minutes away from joining Atleti on 79 points on the top of the league, with Barcelona dropping to third on 78. However, Diego Simeone's men could go clear at the top should they pick up any points against Getafe on Sunday.
HE SHOULD SCORE! Modric's free kick hits the hall but runs through to Morata. He picks out Benzema behind him with a clever backheel but the Frenchman smashes his effort well over the top.
Madrid feel they should have a penalty as Morata controls Isco's lofted pass with his chest and Mane slides in to try and stop him from shooting. He doesn't seem to get the ball, but the contact is minimal and the Blancos forward appeared to be looking for that.
Benzema goes on a run towards the box, forcing Torsiglieri to continue retreating before attempting to pick out the far corner. He sends a low shot skidding across the ground but Esteban gets down to smother it.
JUST WIDE! Morata straps on the jets down the left before checking back and bending a lovely cross in for Benzema. Once more, though, the France international cannot make a telling connection and bundles his shot wide of the post.
Illarra has been more adventurous than usual today, again providing an injection of urgency from deep, but Madrid are unable to make the most of it. The ball breaks to Modric and he dances his way into the box, however the ball gets away from him and he is unable to pick out a team-mate.
The recent substitutions just seem to have broked up the tempo of the game a little bit, with the match becoming a bit stop-start recently. Madrid's free-flowing game has taken a bit of a knock, but that is to be expected when Di Maria and Bale both leave the field!
Bale is the next Galactico to be rested, with the youngster Alvaro Morata coming on in his stead.
Jonathan Sundy Zongo
Benzema picks out Bale in the box and the Welshman shimmies to get the ball onto his favoured left foot. He makes the space but his strike at goal is blocked by a blue shirt. He picks up the loose ball and tries to scoop a pass over the defence for Benzema but Nelson intercepts.
BENZEMA! Once again he is found inside the box but is unable to adjust his feet adequately to divert Nacho's cross on target.
Diego Lopez is forced into a brilliant save from Corona, as the Almeria man looked to bend a free kick inside his near post! He has not been very busy, but he proved his quality there.
Ángel Di María
It is Di Maria who makes way. The Argentine had a brilliant game and will almost certainly be included from the start against Barcelona in midweek.
With a three-goal cushion Ancelotti may soon start to make some changes and rest the legs of his more established players ahead of the Copa del Rey final in midweek. Casemiro appears to be ready to enter the fray, perhaps for Modric or Di Maria.
ESTEBAN! The keeper rushes off his line and stays big, getting just enough on the ball as Coentrao looked to sweep home following his overlapping run.
STAT: Real Madrid have won 24 of their last 26 home matches in La Liga, and that looks set to become 25 in 27 tonight.
A change for the visitors as the ineffectual Rodri is replaced by Aleix Vidal. Francisco clearly looking to limit the goals the Madrid find tonight.
Assist Karim Benzema
GOOOOOOAL! Benzema's cross is brought down by Isco on the far side and he is stood up by Nelson. The Spaniard shifts the ball onto his right foot and lashes a low shot underneath Esteban and inside the near post!
The home fans will be delighted that the second goal has come early in the second half, as had the game continued at 1-0 then the tension would have built to extremely high levels.
Assist Karim Benzema
Goal Gareth Bale
GOOOOOOOOAL! BALE NETS THE SECOND! A great one-two between Benzema and Di Maria ends with the former teeing up Bale for a shot, which he smashes past Esteban. The keeper got something on the ball but it had too much power for him to keep it out.
MODRIC!! Isco's corner is headed away by Martinez but the ball sits up nicely for Modric 20 yards from goal. He jumps up to get his knee over the ball but arrows the shot off target, away from the idle Esteban.
Almeria have a brief spell of pressure in the Madrid half but Verza's delivery is sent straight into the welcoming arms of Diego Lopez. Los Blancos' keeper has had an extremely comfortable evening so far.
ISCO!! A bright start from Madrid, picking up where they left off, and Isco nearly doubles there lead. He completely sells Martinez a dummy and then fires a low shot at goal, but it takes a deflection before drifting wide of the post.
We are back underway in Madrid!
The teams are making their way back out onto the pitch, so the second half will begin shortly.
HALF TIME - Real Madrid 1-0 Almeria: An assured, confident first-half display from Ancelotti's men sees them go into the break with a single-goal advantage. They have the impressive Di Maria to thank for that, but they could have had more were it not for Esteban in the visitors' net. Join me in 15 minutes for the second half.
45' + 1'
There is the half-time whistle!
Benzema catches Almeria on the break and opts to shoot from 20 yards out but he drags it wide of the far post. Just one minute of added time to play.
Madrid have looked exceptionally comfortable in this first half, but while the score stands at just 1-0 they are far from being safe in this game.
Torsiglieri tries his luck from distance but he was never going to test Diego Lopez from distance. He apologises to his team-mates, but Almeria will know they need to hold onto the ball rather than waste it unnecessarily against the Madrid giants.
Esteban is forced to make another save, but Bale's attempt at an 18-yard header never really looked like getting the better of the keeper. Madrid deserve to be ahead, but it should perhaps be by a larger margin.
Bale's pace is causing all sorts of problems for Almeria, and he sprints away from Verza but is unable to pick out Benzema in the middle. Di Maria spots the keeper off his line from the resultant corner and goes for goal, and Esteban has to backpedal in order to claw the delivery away from the target.
Verza concedes a sloppy free kick 35 yards from goal in a central area. With Ronaldo absent tonight, Bale takes the opportunity to strike the set play. He fails miserably, though, as he completely skies his effort.
Ancelotti's side won 5-0 when these two teams met earlier in the season, and Madrid could probably have already scored that many tonight!
Coentrao looks to latch onto a diagonal ball into the box but goes to ground following a coming together with Zongo. The Portuguese feels he should have had a penalty as his arm was pulled, but he made a bit too much of it.
Madrid counterattack from an Almeria corner and it is Pepe carrying the ball up from the back. He lays it off to Di Maria but his halted in his attempts to surge into the box as Martinez drags him to ground. The referee signals for play to continue, but Isco is offside from the following cross and the visitors have a free kick. The home fans are not impressed!
Assist Nacho Fernández
Goal Ángel Di María
GOOAAAAAAAL! MADRID TAKE THE LEAD! They've been knocking on the door and finally the goal comes. Di Maria breaks into the box, cutting onto his left foot before curling a lovely shot into the far corner. Almeria protest, as they were down to 10 men with Torsiglieri still receiving treatment.
Madrid are relentless at the moment but the goal remains elusive. Bale almost rounds Esteban but he is forced wide and is unable to take full advantage with the keeper off his line as his cross is dealt with.
Di Maria flights a fabulous cross in from the left and Benzema climbs above Torsiglieri inside the box to get his head on it. He fails to keep his header down, though, and the Almeria centre-back appears to have picked up a knock in the process.
Bale is carving through this Almeria defence tonight! Again he races towards the byeline and rifles in another cross along the deck. He aims it too close to the keeper, though, and Esteban clears with his legs.
STUNNING SAVE! Yet again the keeper comes out on top! Benzema flicks the ball into the path of Bale and the Welshman darts between two blue shirts to get into a shooting position. He lashes a low shot towards the near post but the keeper anticipates it and blocks the effort.
BALE! He is nowhere near beating Esteban as his 20-yard shot rises over the frame of the goal. Illarramendi again the driving force behind that move, winning the ball in midfield and losing a boot in the process!
Illarramendi initiates a clever move down the left, driving up from deep and playing a one-two before picking out Bale at the top of the box. The winger attempts to flick a pass into Benzema with his first touch but the striker is not on the same wavelength.
Los Blancos are taking this game at a leisurely pace presently. Still, they are creating chances and just seem confident that soon enough one of them will find the back of the net.
Almeria take a short corner, working the ball to Barbosa on the corner of the box. The Portuguese attempts to bend a deep cross to the back post but he puts far too much on it and sends it straight out of play for a goal kick.
OVER THE TOP! Bale goes on a blistering run down the left, getting to the byeline before drilling a low cross into the centre for Benzema. The Frenchman connects with it but scoops his shot well high of Esteban's goal. Not his best effort.
STAT: Almeria are finding it tough on the road at the moment, having lost all of their previous seven away matches in the league.
Nelson pushes up on the right flank but is closed down by Isco and Illarra as he ventures into the final third. The defender manages to win a thrown in but Almeria cannot produce anything of note from it.
Di Maria is hungry for a goal! Yet again he lets fly from distance and Esteban can only punch the shot up into the air. He comes under a challenge from Bale which sees the looping ball then ricochet off the post but the Welshman was offside.
GOOD SAVE! It is Di Maria again with the effort from distance, this time arrowing low towards the bottom corner. However, Esteban gets down to his right and parries the shot out wide.
Almeria are getting numerous blue shirts behind the ball when they are without possession, but it is inviting plenty of early pressure from the hosts.
OFF THE BAR! Di Maria receives the ball in a central area, 25 yards from goal, and takes a touch to turn towards goal. His second touch is an absolutely brilliant strike which only the crossbar stops from becoming a truly memorable goal.
Isco and Nacho combine out on the right, with the latter making his way into the box and attempting to find Bale with a cutback. His pass is intercepted by a blue shirt, but it was still a bright move.
Almeria win an early corner and it is whipped into the box by Corona. Zongo runs onto it, unmarked, but sends his header high into the stands behind the goal. That was never going to worry Diego Lopez, but he wil want his defence to wake up quickly.
We are underway in Madrid!
The teams are out on the pitch, so the game will be underway momentarily.
We have just five minutes to go until kick off, and we should be in for another thrilling installment of La Liga action!
Well, Barcelona have been beaten 1-0 at Granada tonight, so second position is Real Madrid's for the taking. They could join city-rivals Atletico at the top of the table, second only due to their poorer record in the head-to-head.
Almeria's last visit to the Bernabeu came on the final day of the 2010-11 season and ended in a thumping 8-1 defeat. Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo both netted doubles but it was Emmanuel Adebayor who stole the show with a hat-trick. How the Madrid side would love a similar result ahead of the Copa del Rey final with Barcelona coming up on Wednesday.
Almeria substitutes: Julian, Silva, Soriano, Aleix Vidal, Suso, Azeez, Oscar Diaz.
Almeria (4-2-3-1): Esteban; Nelson, Torsiglieri, Martinez, Mane; Verza, Corona; Tebar, Barbosa, Zongo; Rodri.
Real Madrid substitutes: Casillas, Casemiro, Morata, Lucas Vazquez, Mascarell, Llorente, Willian Jose.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Diego Lopez; Varane, Pepe, Nacho, Coentrao; Modric, Illarramendi, Di Maria; Isco, Benzema, Bale.
As well as being without the aforementioned Portuguese, Carlo Ancelotti also has Sami Khedira, Jese, Alvaro Arbeloa, and Marcelo all out due to injury. Xabi Alonso and Dani Carvajal are both suspended tonight, meaning the Madrid defence has somewhat of a makeshift feel. For the visitors Sebastian Dubarbier remains unfit for action, while Rafita is serving a ban. Full line-ups on the way.
Real Madrid have won nine out of the 13 times these two clubs have previously met. Six of those games have been played at the Santaigo Bernabeu, and los Blancos have won them all. Tonight, though, they are again without the talismanic Cristiano Ronaldo who remains sidelined through injury. Still, there is to be plenty of talent on show this evening.
Will the race for La Liga take further twists and turns tonight? Barcelona currently trail Granada 1-0, meaning Real Madrid would leap above them and into second place should it stay that way and los Blancos overcome Almeria at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight. It's another big night in Spain and I, Tom Webber, will be your host for this evening.
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