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Deportivo La Coruña
15 April 2013
• Estadio San Mamés, Bilbao
Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes
• Attendance: 39000
Cristiano Ronaldo 2', 68'
G. Higuaín 76'
Full time in San Mames. Real Madrid run out comfortable 3-0 winners over Athletic Bilbao. An early Cristiano Ronaldo free kick set the tone before he doubled the lead with a fantastic header in the second half. Gonzalo Higuain completed the win with an emphatic finish to confirm the three points for Jose Mourinho's men, which, really, was never in doubt in the game. I'm Martin Macdonald, thank you for joining us on Goal.com! See you next time!
Iturraspe looks to earn a consolation for his side as he shoots from 25 yards. It had plenty of power behind it but Diego Lopez comfortably sees it over the bar. Apart from Susaeta's shot in the first half, the former Sevilla 'keeper has had a really quiet evening.
Madrid just keeping the ball rather comfortably now. I think Athletic knew they were beat long ago and just want to hear the final whistle now.
Awful cross from Iraola. Athletic knock the ball around well in the final third but the right-back's cross flies straight over the bar, frustrating his colleagues inside the box. That's been an unfortunate feature of Bilbao's play tonight, there final ball hasn't been good enough.
CALLEJON!!! That took a lick of paint off the post! The substitute cleverly nutmegs Aurtenetxe before lashing a right-footed shot just the wrong side of the left-hand post! Iraizoz was scrambling across but I don't think he would have got there!
Athletic's last swap of the match sees Iker Munian replaced by youngster, Erik Moran. Another player off the Basque assembly line in Bilbao.
Last change of the match from Mourinho, and it's a surprising one. Alvaro Morata is introduced in place of Cristiano Ronaldo, who'll no doubt be unhappy that he can't claim his third hat-trick of the season.
San Mames is like a library now! Those two goals from Madrid have absolutely killed the atmosphere in the stands!
Assist Cristiano Ronaldo
Goal Gonzalo Higuaín
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAL FOR REAL MADRID!! INSTANT IMPACT FROM HIGUAIN!! Ronaldo flicks the ball through the legs of San Jose and it travels through to the Argentine, who rifles a cracking strike into the bottom left corner! Game. Set. Match.
Yellow Card Raúl Albiol
Yellow Card Toquero
Ronaldo is also down after an altercation with San Jose, who appeared to, if you can believe it, pull the hair of the Portuguese! I never thought I'd see the day of hair-pulling in football!
Toquero's first action of the match sees him booked for an awful challenge on Raul Albiol. He sent the former Valencia defender up in the air with a reckless slide tackle and is perhaps lucky the colour of the card was yellow.
Madrid follow suit and make another substitution of their own. Gonzalo Higuain enters the action in place of Karim Benzema.
Double change from Marcelo Bielsa. Ibai Gomez and Jonas Ramalho are replaced by Gaizka Toquero and Andoni Iraola for the hosts.
That goal from Ronaldo has totally silences the San Mames crowd! You could hear a pin drop!
Assist Xabi Alonso
Goal Cristiano Ronaldo
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL FOR REAL MADRID! WE HAVE A SPARK! Xabi Alonso floats in a free kick from the right-hand side and Ronaldo absolutely bullets a header into the far corner! No 'keeper in the world would have saved that, fantastic!
Yellow Card Iturraspe
Frustration definitely seeping in for Athletic. Iturraspe is the latest player to go into the book for a late challenge.
Not really much in terms of goalmouth action in the second half so far. Some of the bite and tempo that was present in the first 45 minutes seems to have disappeared. The game needs a spark from somewhere.
Modric does some keepy-uppies in the centre of the park before lobbing a lovely pass through the middle for Ronaldo, who attempts to hit the ball on the volley but sends his strike waaaaayyyy over the bar, much to the delight of the San Mames crowd.
Ángel Di María
First change of the match from Jose Mourinho. Angel Di Maria is withdrawn and his replacement is Jose Callejon.
Yellow Card Muniain
And then it's some bad work from him. Muniain goes in extremely late on Marcelo and earns himself a yellow card. A tackle born out of frustration, that.
Muniain, who has looked bright in the second half, takes the ball beyond Khedira and Alonso before firing a shot at goal from 25 yards. It was never bothering Diego Lopez but it was good work from the Athletic man.
Iturraspe turns sharply inside the centre circle and drives towards goal, but is unceremoniously bundled over by Sami Khedira. It's becoming a real battle in that midfield area.
Double save by Iraizoz! Marcelo runs on the overlap and rattles a cross into the box that is palmed away by the Athletic 'keeper, who gets up quickly to palm away Benzema's subsequent half-volley!
A peach of an aerial challenge from Xabi Alonso sees the Madrid man, as well as Susaeta and Khedira, down injured on the floor. It really was a colossal collision in mid-air but it looks like all three players will be okay.
A break in play currently as Ronaldo is down injured. The former Manchester United man just ran straight into the back of Ramalho and is down clutching his face. He gets up and makes a card sign to the referee. The dark side of Cristiano Ronaldo rears its ugly head.
A great pass from Luka Modric sees Ronaldo run free down the left-hand side, but the Portuguese's reverse pass inside to Benzema is cut out by Ekiza, who brings the ball out of defence.
We are back under way at San Mames!
Half time in San Mames. A superb Cristiano Ronaldo free kick is the difference at the moment as Real Madrid lead Athletic 1-0 at the break. It was an early setback for Marcelo Bielsa's men but they have grew back into the match! One goal for either side will change the complexion of the game! Join us in 15 minutes for the second half!
45' + 1'
Athletic manage to get the ball in the Madrid net as Llorente bullies Pepe off the ball before coolly finishing into the corner, but the referee brings the play back for a foul on the Portuguese defender. Really, really, harsh.
ANDER!!! How close was that?! The midfielder runs through the centre unchallenged and powers a left-footed strike from the edge of the area that looks destined to nestle in the top corner, but it the last minute it just sways the wrong side of goal! Inches away!
MADRID HIT THE POST!!! Madrid counterattack down the right flank as Di Maria drives forward before cutting inside into the box! He smashes a shot at goal from the right of the six yard box, but it cannons off the top of the woodwork! Athletic let off the hook!
Almost for Muniain! The 20-year-old goes on a marauding run through the middle and rides challenge after challenge but one touch too many sees the ball just go out of play! If that had an end product it would have been sensational!
Yellow Card Xabi Alonso
Superb challenge from Xabi Alonso!! Susaeta breaks the offside trap and bursts into the box and lashes a left-footed strike at goal, but the Madrid man is there to make a last-ditch tackle to block the shot! That was definitely goal-bound!
Athletic are just setting up little triangles as they keep the ball in the final third. Madrid are deep and don't seem overly concerned about pressing the ball, perhaps suckering the hosts in so they can break out and counterattack?
Another shot on target for Madrid. Sami Khedira tests the gloves of Iraizoz with a well-struck effort from the edge of the box but the Athletic 'keeper comfortably gets down to make the save.
Fantastic work by Xabi Alonso. The former Liverpool man robs Llorente of the ball inside the box and then finds Ramos on the right wing with an inch-perfect pass across the park to take the pressure off his side.
Apart from picking the ball out of his own net after two minutes, Iraizoz has not had much to do so far. Madrid have really took their foot off the gas since going ahead and it's invited Athletic back into the match.
Naughty from Aurtenetxe. The left-back rakes his studs down the left leg of Ramos and the Madrid man is down injured. If the ref seen that he could be in trouble!
Modric picks out Di Maria with a sensational pass down the left wing and the Argentine takes on Ramalho before smashing a cross into the centre. Benzema looks to turn the ball towards goal but San Jose is there once again to deflect out for a corner.
Good covering from San Jose. Xabi Alonso threads a superb pass down the inside right channel for Benzema who hits the byline before whipping a cross into the centre, but the Athletic defender's positioning was spot on and he manages to clear at the front post. Madrid just finding their feet again.
Llorente comes deep to receive possession and looks to pick out Susaeta who makes a darting run through the middle, but the striker's pass is slightly overhit and runs through to Diego Lopez.
Mourinho doesn't look at all happy with his players at the moment. He makes a slight tactical change and moves the defensive line high up the park to the halfway line. He needs to do something to curb the ascendancy of Athletic, they're looking dangerous!
The Basques are turning up the heat on Madrid!
Great save by Diego Lopez!! A typically pacey counterattack from Athletic sees Iturraspe gallop through the centre and pick out Susaeta on the right-hand side, who flashes a shot towards the bottom corner, but the Madrid 'keeper gets down and turns the ball round the post.
Yellow Card Luka Modric
Ibai Gomez steps up and looks to catch Diego Lopez off-guard by bending the ball round the wall into the far post. The free kick bounces off the Madrid wall and goes out for a corner.
Sergio Ramos gives a way a free kick on the edge of the box and Athletic have the opportunity to get a shot on goal. Let's see what they make of this.
Di Maria receives a pass from Pepe and drives towards goal at pace but the resulting shot at goal is speculative at best and goes way over. It was well struck but there was no finesse or direction.
The ref may have his hands full tonight. As the corner comes in their is constant jostling and shoving by both players. Expect to see more of the same as we see more set-pieces!
Xabi Alonso takes a quick free kick and Ronaldo turns sharply before lashing a left-footed strike at goal. The attempt deflects off the leg of Iturraspe and Madrid get their first corner kick.
Athletic have just begun to find their feet in the match. Ander, Iturraspe, and Muniain are all seeing much more of the ball so let's see what kind of service they can provide the front three.
An interesting duel has already emerged in the match. Athletic right-back Ramalho has had a couple of run-ins with Ronaldo down the left-hand side. Watch this space, this promises to be a decent battle on the wing.
Di Maria almost pulls of a sensational pass! The Argentine whips the ball in between three Athletic players and out to the right-hand side for Benzema, but the Madrid man was just offside and Athletic get the free kick. What an assist that would have been!
Needlessly given away by Ramos. The Spaniard, who is featuring at right-back tonight, wins possession but then attempts a spectacular crossfield pass to Ronaldo that is intercepted by Ramalho.
Muniain robs Ronaldo of possession inside the centre circle and looks to slide a pass down the right for Llorente, but a miscommunication sees Real Madrid eventually win back the ball.
Athletic's gameplan is out the window almost immediately!
Goal Cristiano Ronaldo
GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAL FOR REAL MADRID!! How about that?! Cristiano Ronaldo steps up and absolutely leathers a free kick into the top left corner from 25 yards! Iraizoz had no chance! What a start to the match at San Mames!
We are under way at San Mames!
Only a few moments from kick-off now!
This is the last time Real Madrid will ever play at San Mames. Athletic Bilbao will be moving stadium in the summer so only a handful of games left to be played at 'The Cathedral. It will be sorely misses, its a fantastic stadium for atmosphere!
Barring a colossal capitulation by Barcelona, the game tonight doesn't have title ramifications, but Jose Mourinho's men still have a fight on their hands to finish second in La Liga.
Get the comments in!
Don't forget to post your thoughts, feelings, and predictions on the match on Twitter and to the chat section of our Live Match Centre. You can follow Goal.com on Twitter at @goal_intl and you can follow yours truly at @MartinMac1.
Madrid are on a superb run of form of late and have won nine of their last 11 matches in all competitions.
Athletic have lost five of their last eight matches in La Liga and have lost their last six encounters with Real Madrid.
They don't make particularly good reading for Athletic fans!
Some pre-match stats for you!
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Diego Lopez; Ramos, Pepe, Albiol, Marcelo; Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Ronaldo, Modric, Di Maria; Benzema.
Athletic (4-3-3): Iraizoz; Ramalho, Ekiza, San Jose, Aurtenetxe; Iturraspe, Ander Herrera, Muniain; Susaeta, Llorente, Ibai.
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be taking you through the action!
Good evening folks! Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Spanish Primera Division clash between Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid at San Mames!
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