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Deportivo La Coruña
16 December 2012
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
• Attendance: 65000
Cristiano Ronaldo 45'+
Fábio Coentrão 48'
Sergio García 31'
J. Albín 88'
That's it from me, thanks for tuning on. Till next time!
A historic result for Espanyol, who steal a point with two minutes left in the game. The visitors deserve all the credit for their play, but spare no mercy for Madrid, who were mostly out of sorts throughout. Should Barca beat Atletico shortly, Los Blancos could find themselves 13 points off the pace.
90' + 4'
That's it! 2-2 at full time!
90' + 3'
After a prolonged spell of Madrid pressure, Di Maria finally clips the ball into the area, but the excellent Casilla stands tall to make the catch!
90' + 2'
Madrid are in shambles at the moment. Could Espanyol do the impossible and steal the points late on?
Four minutes of added time as Ozil sees a shot from the edge of the box deflected for a corner, which comes to nothing.
Yellow Card J. Albín
Assist H. Moreno
Goal J. Albín
ESPANYOL STUNNER! What a shambolic piece of defending from Madrid, who fall apart, quite literally, in the dying minutes. A corner comes in, and Pepe, Ramos and Coentrao all go tumbling. The ball eventually reaches Albin, who puts it home for the goal! 2-2!
Ronaldo with another overly-ambitious effort from distance that is routine for Casilla.
Real chance for Espanyol to draw level! A tricky set-piece sees Capdevilla smash a volley just over the bar from a great position!
It's been a strange day in Spain. Barcelona fans roaring on Espanyol in the Bernabeu, while plenty of Madridista's gearing up to support Atletico Madrid against the Blaugrana later on. Not something you see happen too often!
Yellow Card Cristiano Ronaldo
Certainly, apart from the first 15 minutes or so of the second half, it's been a very deflated performance from Madrid in this match. They may have done just enough to steal all three points as things stand, but its not a display that many will remember.
Yellow Card Víctor Sánchez Mata
As we enter the closing stages of tonight's gripping contest, remember to get in touch on Twitter @keeghann for any thoughts on the game!
Head tennis anyone? Ronaldo flicks a header into the six-yard box, where Morata nods towards goal, and Moreno skull-thumps it off the goalline. Fascinating sequence!
Madrid just taking their foot off the gas in the last few minutes. Ronaldo fires a speculative effort harmlessly wide from all of 30 yards.
Di Maria, who has been lively since his introduction, plays in Ozil once again with a ball over the top, but the German, with little time to think, sides an aimless ball across the face of goal that is met by no one.
Di Maria twisting and turning, and eventually playing in Callejon, who makes a tame connection on the volley, which Casilla is only too happy to grab.
Yellow Card Xabi Alonso
Equally sublime skill from Ronaldo, who shows superb close control to manufacture and inch of space for a cross, but no one in white is primed to attack in in the box.
Magnificent from Alfonso, who nutmegs his man on a mazy run into the area. Coentrao eventually clears for a corner, halting a potentially deadly move from the youngster.
There's no offside flag for Garcia here though, who gets to the line and clips back across the face of goal, where Ramos swivels his head and just manages to remove the danger! Espanyol not out of this yet!
Ronaldo pegged back by the narrowest of offside calls, after for one second appearing to be free of the last defender.
Remember to get in touch on Twitter @keeghann for your comments on the game!
Ronaldo turns on the afterburners to surge towards the byline past Lopez, but his ball into the box is lacking in quality, and ends up being an easy read for the defence.
Excellent combination between Di Maria and Ozil. The former clips the ball over the top for the latter to attack on the byline, and his low centre is parried out for a corner by Casilla.
Yellow Card Alfonso
Another boneheaded play from Alfonso as he needlessly tugs the shirt of Ronaldo when defending an aimless punt forward, resulting in a yellow card.
Víctor Guillermo Álvarez Delgado
What looks like a promising attack for Espanyol is wasted when Alfonso rushes the play and sends a wild ball out for a goalkick. Not sure if that was a shot or a ball over the top.
A respite for Espanyol as they win a corner, but Ronaldo heads clear, sparking Madrid on the break. Callejon eventually works the ball square to Di Maria, and Ronaldo, who surged the whole length of the pitch, is primed for a close range volley, but he completely miscues! Still, breathtaking counterattack from Madrid!
Madrid have certainly dominated the second half so far. What are your thoughts? Reach me on Twitter @keeghann.
Di Maria again! He takes aim from the edge of the area, and his powerful drive takes a deflection, forcing Casilla to push onto the frame of the goal! Great reaction save from the Espanyol stopper!
End to end stuff at the Bernabeu! Ozil gets the better of Forlin and sparks Madrid forward on the break. He picks out Di Maria wonderfully in the clear, but the Argentine's first touch takes him away from goal and allows Casilla to stride off his line and make the block!
In one instant, Garcia collects the ball at the byline and clips a dangerous ball across the face of goal, which Coentrao shows great composure to clear from point blank range!
Ozil goes flying after Moreno brushes him off the ball on the edge of the area when attempting to latch onto a Ronaldo flick. No foul, a 50-50 call really.
Madrid are simply a different beast in the early stages of the second half. Callejon forces a save out of Casilla after getting in behind.
Assist Cristiano Ronaldo
Goal Fabio Coentrao
2-1 MADRID! A goal crafted entirely by the guile of Ronaldo, who holds the ball up at the edge of the area, before picking out the surging Coentrao, who steams into the six yard box and with one poke of his toe, leaves his putrid first half behind and sends the hosts into the lead!
One change for Madrid, as Modric is withdrawn for Di Maria. Harsh for the Croatian, who I though was better in the first half than fellow advanced midfielders Ozil and Callejon. Still, at the very least, Di Maria will provide some sorely needed width.
Ángel Di María
Here we go again!
This match has been nothing if not entertaining. Sergio Garcia has been an absolute menace with his off the ball movement, and gave the visitors the lead with a clinical finish just before half an hour. But Ronaldo rescued a wretched Madrid first-half with a steely leveler on the strike of the interval. Don't think that will change Mourinho's half-time plans one bit though, he will no doubt know that his his side have been poor. Second half in coming up, so stay tuned!
45' + 2'
That goal was scored 20 seconds after the allotted minute of stoppage time, and still we play on! Simao picks up a long punt near the edge of the box, and forces a save out of Casillas! The ball is cleared by Madrid, and finally we have half time.
45' + 1'
Assist Sami Khedira
45' + 1'
Goal Cristiano Ronaldo
EQUALISER! And who else but Ronaldo! Sheer determination, that's what forced that goal, as the 27-year-old gets to a Khedira centre ahead of Moreno, and rakes the ball into the back of the net with his studs!
Into stoppage time in the first half, of which there will be one minute...
Coentrao wins a corner, but once again, the first contact is made by a man in blue and white, and the danger is gone.
There must be changes afoot for Mourinho during the half time break. Ozil and Callejon have been virtually anonymous, so don't be surprised to see at least one of Kaka or Di Maria in the second half.
Quick Twitter plug: @keeghann, get your comments in!
A quite superb ball by Arbeloa with the outside of his boot picks out Ronaldo between the cente back and the full back, but Casilla is off his line quickly to block the Portuguese at his feet.
And again. Garcia chases down a long ball towards the corner flag, and slips in Alfonso towards the byline. The substitute forces a corner off of Ramos.
Garcia is lurking as the most dangerous player in this match, coming within inches once again of latching onto another through ball. Casillas this time manages to rush out and make the clearance.
Ronaldo loses possession again after Lopez puts pressure on him on a high ball in midfield. Signs of frustration from the Portuguese.
The impatience is now rising in the stands after another one-dimensional attack from Madrid breaks down all to easily. Los Blancos seem to be taking a page out of Stoke City's book in the last few minutes, pumping ball after aimless ball into the box, which Espanyol are only too happy to deal with.
The Bernabeu, already in a testy mood for most of the match, is now stunned. Other than a few moans and groans, and the unyielding chanting from the small corner of ultras, the stadium is pretty silent.
Goal Sergio García
ESPANYOL TAKE THE LEAD!! What a picture perfect counter attack! Verdu starts the move, unleashing a magical through ball to find Sergio Garcia, who never lets up in his stride, surges between Pepe and Ramos and slides a fantastic finish past Casillas! 1-0 to the visitors!
And off goes Wakaso for Alfonso. Probably a good move by Aguirre, as the Ghanaian has already been booked and has shown no signs of reigning in his aggression, coming dangerously close to a second yellow.
Poor counterattack from Espanyol. Wakaso wastes possession on a 3-on-3 break, firing a cross way over the head of Garcia. That may be his last contribution, as he is set to be replaced!
Tell you what, that was an electric moment from Modric! The Croatian gets the ball with his back to goal, and with a great first touch, evades his marker, and sets up for a shot from 20 yards out that smacks against the post!
It's just not working for Madrid so far. Coentrao and Arbeloa are not providing the requisite width, and as a result, we've seen the likes of Modric forced ever wider to pick up the ball - not his strong point by any means. To be honest, Madrid's gameplan is relatively easy to defend, as Espanol seem happy to pile numbers centrally and crowd them out.
Modric with an eye-catching moment of agility to evade Lopez on the left and fire a cross in, but it cannot beat the first man in Colotto, who heads clear with ease.
The first few minutes excluded, Madrid have really lacked intensity in their play. Espanyol are finding it easy to disrupt them in possession by pressing hard.
Close shave for Madrid! Garcia is played in behind the defence, and has the ball taken off his toes by the onrushing Casillas! A good chance there for the visitors; this is not turning out to be the cakewalk that many Madridistas predicted!
Ramos and Pepe are both one yellow card away from suspension. With Madrid's Copa del Rey second leg against Celta up next, not to mention a difficult visit to Champions League high-flyers Malaga immediately after, Mourinho will definitely want his central defensive partnership to curb their aggression tonight - not something they're known for to be honest.
Thoughts on the match so far? Get in touch on Twitter @keeghann.
Out of nowhere, Espanyol nearly score! Verdu and Simao, their two goalscorers against Sevilla last weekend, link up, the former playing in the latter, who gets goalside of Arbeloa in the box, but his resulting effort is neither a shot nor a cross and goes wide. Simao is shaking his head, poor from him.
A free header for Pepe is planted straight into the arms of Casilla, but the play is chalked off for a questionable foul on Moreno. There was slight contact, but Pepe's reputation preceded him there I think.
Yellow Card Wakaso
Wakaso is our first booking after upending Khedira with another bad foul, matching his earlier infraction on Coentrao.
As expected, Madrid are piling great numbers forward, but there is a conspicuous lack of width, which is not a surprise given their lineup. It will really be up to the fullbacks, Arbeloa and Coentrao, to look for the overlapping run at every opportunity to prevent play from becoming congested in the middle.
Another scent of a promising break for Espanyol, as Simao slides it square to Wakaso, but Coentrao is back to snuff out the counterattack with impunity.
Espanyol finally manage to move out of their own half...but it lasts all of 2 seconds as Simao is pegged back by the referee's whistle after shoving Arbeloa aside.
Dangerous freekick for Madrid after Coentrao is sent sprawling onto the turf by Wakaso just outside the area. Alonso whips it in, but Moreno crucially manages to get the first touch on the ball and clears the danger.
It appears that Ronaldo will be playing as a centre forward in title only. The Portuguese is popping up all over the place in the attacking third, which, for regular viewers of Madrid, is not exactly an uncommon sight.
Madrid have started superbly! Arbeloa cuts in from the right and sees a slipped ball to Ozil cut out at the last. The loose end falls Ronaldo's way, and he in turn picks out Modric in the area, but the Croatian drills agonizingly wide!
First shot in anger from Madrid! An exquisite one-touch backheel from Ozil sets Ronaldo on the charge through the middle. He takes aim from 20 yards out, but fizzes wide of the far post.
And here we go! Thoughts, comments or wisecracks during the match? Hit me up on Twitter @keeghann. I look forward to hearing from all of you!
We are about to kick things off here...a minute's silence is being respectfully observed by all in the stadium for the untimely death of the daughter of the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano.
The omens do not appear to be in Espanyol's favor. They have not won at the Bernabeu since a 2-1 triumph the 1995-96 campaign, while in their last six clashes against Madrid, they have failed to register a single goal. What's more, in this fixture last season, they were thrashed 5-0 by Mourinho's men.
The big news here is that Ronaldo has been planted up front on his own, with regular centre forwards Benzema and Higuain confined to the treatment table. It will be interesting to see how this plays out given that Ronaldo, ostensibly named as a wide forward in most games, tends to move centrally. In Ozil, Callejon and Modric, Mourinho has named a rather narrow-looking attacking midfield trident, so perhaps he would have instructed Ronaldo to drift out wide when Madrid are in possession in order to allow those three to do their thing in the middle.
Espanyol (4-2-3-1): Casilla: Víctor Sanchez, Forlin, Sergio, Verdu; Moreno, Javi Lopez; Colotto, Simao, Wakaso; Víctor Álvarez.
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Alonso, Khedira; Callejon, Ozil, Modric; Ronaldo.
Greetings one and all, I'm Keeghann Sinanan, and welcome to our live play-by-play for Real Madrid's Liga match up against Espanyol at the Bernabeu! Let's get started with some team news...
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