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Celta de Vigo
25 March 2012
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: Javier Turienzo Álvarez
• Attendance: 76000
Thank you for joining us here at Goal.com for tonight's match. Make sure you stick around for all the post-match news and analysis, including match report and player ratings. My name is Tom Webber and it has been a real pleasure to guide you through the action. Have a great evening!
Even when they pulled the goal back there did not seem to be a way back for the visitors. Madrid will be pleased to have a six-point gap but should they be beaten at Camp Nou next month then the Catalans would hold the head-to-head advantage of Jose Mourinho's men. We are set for a fantastic run-in.
It is full time at the Santiago Bernabeu and Real Madrid have restored their lead at the summit of La Liga to six points. Braces from Ronaldo and Benzema were added to by Higuain in an impressive display from Los Blancos.
90' + 3'
Kaka darts in from the left and looks to put the ball into the box but it is deflected behind for a corner. Bravo comes out to punch it out and the full-time whistle goes.
90' + 1'
Into the first of an additional two minutes.
We are edging towards stoppage time now and Madrid seem happy to let Sociedad see some of the ball. No need for any urgency in their play now.
Higuain tries to pressure Inigo Martinez on a high ball as it falls to the area. The defender copes with it comfortably though and manages to head the ball out of the area.
De La Bella puts in another decent ball from wide on the left but this time it is met by a white shirt. Marcelo clears the danger away and now Madrid look for another.
Yellow Card Vadim Demidov
Madrid have their visitors penned back in their own half but cannot seem to find another chance to shoot. There is a long break in the play as Varane goes down under a challenge in the area and needs treatment.
OFF THE LINE!! Kaka takes the ball down the left and cuts the ball back. Sahin touches the ball onto Higuain and his effort is turned over the bar. From Sahin's corner Varane wins the ball and heads it on target only to see the ball cleared off the line!
A lot of support for Madrid youngsters Varane and Sahin on Twitter. Varane has been solid all night in defence and will be pleased to get a comfortable 90 minutes under his belt. Sahin meanwhile will surely be pleased just to get a few minutes on the pitch, though he deserves more.
That could have been another for the visitors! De La Bella threads through a lovely cross which eludes all the Madrid defenders. Vela is in the box and throws himself, feet first, at the ball but fails to make a connection.
GREAT CHANCE!! Ronaldo curls in a precise cross from the right and finds substitute Coentrao in the box. The former Benfica man gets his toe on it but sends the ball wide of the post. He could have scored with his first touch there. Many of you on Twitter would have been expecting that to hit the back of the net, @Supa_K, @harunabarde and @K_agyemang all predicting a few more goals.
Madrid looking back in control of this game now. Looks like Sahin is warming up on the sidelines! He will no doubt want to make a positive impression when he comes on.
Great shot from Benzema! The former Lyon striker pounces on the edge of the box and sends a powerful effort at Bravo. The keeper does well to make a strong save and keep the ball out. That could have been his hat-trick.
Yet another chance for Sociedad! Griezmann at the heart of it once again but he screws his effort across goal and wide of the far post. Casillas was confident that it was never sneaking in.
Madrid have really taken their foot off the gas here! A lovely scooped pass finds Griezmann in behind the defence but the Frenchman's header is gathered comfortably by Casillas. Madrid need to reassert themselves on this game.
Zurutuza plays a great ball through the heart of the Madrid defence to put Xabi Prieto through on goal. He takes far too long on the ball though and allows the defenders to recover without getting a shot on goal.
Despite being in total control of the game Madrid have run their luck at times. There have been a couple of dodgy tackles in and around the penalty area that could well have gone the other way for the hosts.
Sociedad cannot keep hold of the ball and seem to just be averting wave upon wave of attacks from Madrid. Karanka may use this chance to give some other players a run out. Could we see Sahin on the pitch soon?
Madrid are an unstoppable force tonight. They are just sweeping past the opposition who are powerless to resist their eviscerating attacks. How many more will Los Blancos get tonight? Send me your predictions on Twitter @thwebber.
Assist Gonzalo Higuaín
Goal Cristiano Ronaldo
GOOOOOOAAALLLL!! RONALDO!!! His second of the night makes it 5-1 just 10 minutes after half time. Higuain again finds space in the channel and latches onto Varane's long ball. His squares the ball for Ronaldo to fire in at the back post. The Sociedad defence is all over the place tonight.
Ronaldo storms down the left and starts to bring the ball inside. He attempts to switch the play to Benzema out on the right but his pass is behind the Frenchman and it runs out play. Not the best ball the Portuguese has ever played!
Higuain makes a good run down the left wing. The ball seems to get away from him but he manages to pull it back into a dangerous area. However, it is swarmed upon by blue shirts with no Madrid player in sight.
So Madrid restore their three-goal advantage with another well-worked goal. The visitors have found it impossible to deal with the trio of Ronaldo, Higuain and Benzema, but you cannot be surprised.
Goal Karim Benzema
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL!! BENZEMA!! His second of the night! Demidov fails to stay in line with his defenders and plays the Frenchman on. He gathers from a sensational pass from Khedira and slots the ball into the far corner after a delightful first touch.
Assist Sami Khedira
Thanks for all your comments on Twitter, I appreciate them all and @krmayank13 told me they were pleased to see Varane playing but wondered why Sahin rarely got a game. The only answer is the sheer talent in Sahin's position. Traditonally he plays a bit deeper so would have to rival Khedira or Xabi Alonso. When one of them is not available Mourinho tends to select Coentrao in that position. He could well be set for a move back to Germany if his position does not improve.
The second half is underway. Is there any way back into this for Sociedad?
Welcome back. The second half will be underway any moment now.
It's half time at the Santiago Bernabeu and Real Madrid are 3-1 up. Goals from Higuain, Ronaldo and Benzema put the hosts on their way to victory but Sociedad pegged one back through Xabi Prieto just before the break. I'll be back in 15 minutes for the second half. In the mean time, send me your thoughts on twitter @thwebber.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Xabi Alonso
45' + 1'
Mikel González Martínez
One minute of added time.
Well what an end to the half that has given us. That Sociedad came from nowhere and the game has cooled down a bit now. Looks like the visitors are changing to a back four now.
Assist Alberto De la Bella
Goal Xabi Prieto
GOOOAAALLL!!! SOCIEDAD PULL ONE BACK!! Xabi Prieto looks up and sees an opportunity to strike the ball on goal. He pulls the trigger and releases a powerful effort from wide on the left. It skims off the top of Sergio Ramos' head which diverts it into the far corner. Casillas stood no chance of stopping that.
Goal Karim Benzema
GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLL!!! BENZEMA!! An utterly tremendous long pass from Xabi Alonso is met by Benzema and he completely outmuscles Cadamuro who put in an absurdly weak challenge on the Frenchman. His first touch is sublime and he lifts it over Bravo and into the net.
Assist Xabi Alonso
Yellow Card Alberto De la Bella
Yellow Card Mikel González Martínez
Great footwork from Ronaldo to hold on to the ball in the middle of the park before bending a pass out wide for Higuain. The Argentine puts in another great cross but Benzema's header is not up to much and fails to test Bravo.
Madrid have been the better side by a mile here. Agirretxe is extremely isolated for Sociedad and they just cannot seem to find him. The hosts have been in total control and you would not bet against them finding the back of the net a few more times before the game is out.
Goal Cristiano Ronaldo
GOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!! RONALDO!! HE'S DONE IT!! That is his 100th La Liga goal in just 92 games, beating Ferenc Puskas' record. The Portuguese latches onto a terrific through-ball by Kaka and opens his body up to bend it past Bravo and into the far corner. Great finish and a great achievement for Ronaldo.
THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN 2-0!! Madrid finding plenty of space down the right and Sergio Ramos whips an enticing cross in. Ronaldo gets his head to the ball but does not make convincing contact with it and sees his attempt fly across the goal, wide of the far post.
GREAT SAVE!! Superb interchange by Ronaldo and Higuain outside the box which creates space between the defenders. Ronaldo charges past Cadamuro and fires a powerful effort at goal but Bravo does well to get his body in the way and make the save.
Aitor Karanka is in charge on the touchline tonight following Jose Mourinho's dismissal against Villarreal in midweek. Does not seem to be affecting his side as of yet though.
Another Madrid corner comes to nothing. This one is sent in by Xabi Alonso but Bravo gets out to it and punches the ball to safety. Madrid continue to dominate possession though and will want to make the most of those chances to avoid any late drama like when Malaga visited last weekend.
Yellow Card Íñigo Martínez
Thanks to @CarlosOshoke for getting in touch via twitter. He said: "I expect Madrid to win and CR7 to complete his 100th goal in La Liga." Ronaldo needs just one goal to earn his century for Madrid and will reach the milestone in a record-breaking manner. This is his 92nd Madrid game and it took Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas 115 games to reach the same mark. Amazing.
First opening for Sociedad! Griezmann drills a shot on goal from distance and it takes a wicked deflection out to the left. It drops to Agirretxe and he looks to open his body up and bend it into the far corner but Casillas rushes out to save superbly.
Ronaldo glides forward at speed down the left and tries to beat Mikel Gonzalez with a stepover before heading down to the byeline. The Sociedad defender times his challenge perfectly though and the Portuguese has no basis to appeal for a penalty.
This time it is Higuain out on the right and he plays a first-time cross into the box. Benzema looks to latch onto it at the near post but it is just out of his reach and the ball is sent behind for a corner.
Free kick for Madrid down by the byeline on the right after a foul on Higuain. Xabi Alonso fires it in low and cuts it back but fails to find a white shirt and the ball is cleared away.
Sociedad are now trying to stop the momentum that the hosts have gained since going ahead. They try to penetrate down the right but see no opening and move it to the other side via the centre-backs. They eventually lose it and Madrid charge forward and almost break through but Ronaldo is adjudged to be offside. Close one there.
Aranburu tries to run the ball out of defence and ends up falling straight into trouble and giving the ball straight back to Khedira. Madrid are now in total control here and just seem like they are going to produce something with every attack.
There is a great atmosphere at the Bernabeu now, they are sensing a big result. Cristiano Ronaldo has the ball in a threatening area and slips it to Marcelo down the left but the Brazilian's cross is deflected behind for a corner.
Assist Karim Benzema
Goal Gonzalo Higuaín
GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL!!! HIGUAIN!! Well that did not take long! Benzema brings the ball in from out on the right and is unopposed as he edges closer to the box. He spots the Argentine's run and plays a well-weighted pass just outside the area for Higuain to sweep home past Bravo at his near post. Great start for Madrid.
Madrid are knocking the ball about well in the Sociedad half but are struggling to find a way though their packed defence at the moment. It is allowing the visitors to break fairly quickly but their numbers are minimal meaning they offer little threat.
An early free kick for Sociedad is put into the box and Inigo Martinez rises highest to meet it. It falls fairly short of being a dangerous delivery as the header comes from just inside the box and it flies harmlessly past Casilas' post.
And we're underway here!
Barcelona have temporarily closed the gap at the top to just three points following their win against Mallorca earlier this evening. The pressure is now on Real Madrid to take it back to success and keep the Catalans at bay. Kick off just moments away.
And now for the visitors, Real Sociedad (5-4-1): Bravo; Cadamuro, Demidov, Mikel Gonzalez, I. Martinez, De la Bella; Xabi Prieto, Aranburu, Illarramendi, Griezmann; Agirretxe. Their substitutes are: Ramirez, Zurutuza, Padro, Ifran, Vela, Llorente, Ansotegui
Real Madrid (4-2-2-2): Casillas; Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Khedira; Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo; Higuain, Benzema. On the bench: Adan, Sahin, Granero, Altintop, Coentrao, Albiol, Jese.
The big news tonight is that both Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain start for Real Madrid tonight. What do you guys make of this? Can these two strikers work together or are they better off leaving one out for a bit more width? Send your comments and thoughts via Twitter to me @thwebber. Full team news coming up.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE text commentary as Real Madrid and Real Sociedad face off at the Santiago Bernabeu in this La Liga clash. My name is Tom Webber and I will be guiding you through all of tonight's action.
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