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19 August 2012
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: Carlos Delgado Ferreiro
• Attendance: 78000
G. Higuaín 10'
Full time in Madrid. Valencia hold the Spanish champions to a draw in the opening game of the season at Santiago Bernabeu. Higuain and Jonas both find the net in the first half to earn a draw for their respective sides. I've been Martin Macdonald. Thank you for joining us on Goal.com! Stay tuned on the site for coverage of Barcelona vs Real Sociedad!
90' + 1'
Dani Parejo very nearly latches on to a loose ball inside the penalty area but Xabi Alonso is there to slide the ball out. Corner to Valencia.
Valencia have defended bravely to their credit. Ricardo Costa and Victor Ruiz in particular have been stalwarts at the back this evening. I hope this doesn't jinx them!
Yellow Card Pablo Piatti
The game is getting very stretched in the dying minutes. You have to feel that this will favour Real Madrid. There may be another goal in this.
Last five or so minutes of the match now. Will Madrid start the season with a hiccup or do they have a hero in their midst?
Yellow Card João Pereira
Last change of the match now as on-loan Rubin Kazan striker Nelson Valdez comes on for Sofiane Feghouli, as Valencia add fresh legs.
Great save from Diego Alves! Ronaldo bursts a gut down the left and picks out Callejon at the back post who has a crack at goal with a left-footed strike, but Alves makes a solid save and palms the ball away.
Lovely piece of link-up play between Ronaldo and Benzema as they exchange two one-two's before Ronaldo clips a cross into the area that is cleared. Good defending again from Valencia as they squeezed the space available to the Portuguese.
Callejon picks up the ball on the edge of the box and whips a cross into the area for Ronaldo but Ruiz is there again to clear the danger. Great defending again.
Pablo Piatti stretches his legs in a speedy counterattack down the left flank for Valencia. He's forced to check back, however, as his team-mates took too long to offer support in the final third.
Yellow Card Xabi Alonso
Jeremy Mathieu attempts the spectacular with a half-volley from around 40 yards. Hmm, can't fault his ambition.
Ángel Di María
Double substitution to report now. Real Madrid make their final change of the match as Di Maria, who looks injured, comes off to be replaced by Jose Callejon. Interestingly, Soldado comes off for Daniel Parejo for Valencia.
Great defending from Ruiz! Benzema and Higuain exchange passes and the Argentine looks to reverse a pass along the six-yard box but the Valencia defender blocked the cross with a well-timed challenge. Madrid corner.
Mesut Ozil picks up the ball in a great position inside the Valencia box and unleashes a powerful strike at goal from the right. However, Alves is equal to it and makes the save to his right.
Jose Andrés Guardado
First change of the match from Valencia as Andres Guardado is replaced by Pablo Piatti.
Madrid hit the bar!!! Di Maria clips a cross into the penalty area and Higuain rises above Alves to glance a header at goal, but the woodwork saves Valencia!
Real Madrid looking dangerous now, and they should be. They have some immense firepower on the field at the moment.
Second change of the match from Jose Mourinho and it is a really positive one. Holding midfielder Lassana Diarra is replaced by striker Karim Benzema. Real Madrid going for it.
Arbeloa runs on the overlap past Di Maria and reverses a cross into the area for Ronaldo who attempts the half-volley at goal! However, he doesn't get a true connection and the ball finds its way to Higuain, who is offside.
Bright opening ten minutes to the second half and it's been pretty even so far. Madrid are playing a very high line and Soldado is playing on the shoulder of the last defender. Will he eventually get through?
Ronaldo takes the ball down magnificently with his chest inside the area but can't manage to retain possession. He's been pretty quiet so far has the Portuguese.
What a chance for Di Maria! Ozil picks out his team-mate on the edge of the box and the Argentine drives through the middle. He struggles to get the ball out of his feet, however, and drags his shot wide!
Yellow Card Víctor Ruiz
Victor Ruiz receives a deserved booking after a lunging tackle on Higuain. Nasty challenge.
Jonas drives forward at pace and attempts a neat-one two with Soldado on the edge of the area that would have saw him through on goal. The return from Soldado was overhit, however, and Madrid clean up.
Interestingly, Iker Casillas has not been replaced at half-time, but Pepe has. Raul Albiol comes on to replace the Portuguese international, who suffered a nasty gash on the head at the end of the first period.
We are back underway! With Barcelona kicking off in two hours or so, Real Madrid will want to start the season with a win and put immediate pressure on their closest rivals. Valencia will be encouraged by end to the first half, however.
Half time in Madrid. Higuain gave the hosts the lead after just ten minutes but Jonas equalised for Valencia five minutes from the break. Iker Casillas also takes a have knock and looked very shaky at the end of the half. We will see whether he comes back out for the second half. Join us for that, in fifteen minutes.
45' + 1'
Real Madrid doing their best to pin Valencia back at the moment. Casillas doesn't look in any shape to be saving any shots. If they can make it to half-time, the medical staff can assess the Madrid captain.
Pepe did have blood pouring out of his head after that, and he is now off the field getting bandaged up. Lassana Diarra will deputise at centre-back for the time being.
Thankfully, Pepe and Casillas are both on their feet now. They still look very grubby both they may be assessed at half-time. Well in the midst of all the chaos, Jonas got in and grabbed the equaliser. 1-1!
Assist Tino Costa
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL FOR VALENCIA!!!! Tino Costa whips in the free kick and Jonas rises high to head into the empty net after Casillas came for the ball but missed it!
Perhaps more worryingly for Real Madrid, Iker Casillas and Pepe are both down in a heap in the penalty area after a very nasty head collision inside the box.
Valencia with a free kick in a good position down the right...
Penalty shout for Los Blancos. Coentrao exchanges a one-two with Ozil before bursting into the penalty area. He goes does down under the challenge of Feghouli but the referee waves play on. It did look like a pretty good tackle.
Ronaldo dashes across goal and picks up the ball in a wide position, he sets up Xabi Alonso on the edge of the box who fluffs his shot. Higuain attempts a bicycle kick, but is flagged is offside.
Ohhh poor decision making from Coentrao! A superb flick round the corner from Higuain sees the Portuguese through on goal, but instead of squaring the ball to the unmarked Ozil inside the box, he goes alone and sees a shot deflected into the side-netting.
Feghouli is booked after a nasty challenge on Sergio Ramos. It was not malicious, but his boot was very high and Ramos will need to leave the pitch for a moment to get patched up. Yellow card for the Valencia man.
Yellow Card Sofiane Feghouli
Very nearly a disaster for Real Madrid! Feghouli runs through on goal and takes the ball around Casillas only to be brought down by the Madrid goalkeeper! Luckily for the hosts, Feghouli was offside. If the flag didn't go up, it would have been a penalty to Valencia and Casillas may have been sent off.
Chance for Valencia!! Feghouli latches on to a loose ball inside the area and shoots at goal but his attempt is heroically blocked by Coentrao! Excellent defending!
The game just beginning to open up slightly with more space generating in the final third. Will either side be able to take advantage?
Roberto Soldado looks to pounce of a ball over the top of the Real Madrid defence but Iker Casillas reads the game well and dashes out from goal to clear the ball before the Valencia man can make contact.
Madrid showing a lot of patience currently. That early goal from Higuain has put them in a comfortable position and they know they don't need to rush anything. They don't want to take their foot off the gas, however.
No golden goalscoring chances after the Higuain goal as of yet. The game is mostly Real Madrid calmly keeping possession. Valencia guilty of sitting quite deep at the moment.
Superb play from Xabi Alonso to retain possession for Real Madrid. He managed to shake off the intense attention of Soldado inside the centre circle, before spraying a signature pass out to the right-hand side for Arbeloa.
Alvaro Arbeloa, always a willing runner on the overlap, attempts to latch on to a cross-field pass from Sergio Ramos but it is slightly over-hit and the ball goes out for a Valencia throw.
Having said that, they are beginning to see a little more of the ball now. Let's see what they can do with more possession. They need to supply Soldado with some ammunition up front.
Valencia looking slightly shell-shocked at the intensity of the start by Jose Mourinho's men. It could be them being off the pace or it could be the fact Real Madrid have exploded out of the blocks.
Goal Gonzalo Higuaín
GOOOOOAAAAAAL FOR REAL MADRID!!!! It didn't take long did it? Gonzalo Higuain breaks the Valencia offside trap and sees two of his attempts on goal blocked by Diego Alves! He latches on to the loose ball and fires a third attempt into the roof of the net! If at first you don't succeed!
Di Maria has seen a lot of the ball so far, and has showed real pace down the right wing. Jeremy Mathieu may have his hands full this evening with the buzzing Argentine.
Early signs are good for Los Blancos. Real Madrid have been incredibly sharp in just about all of their pre-season matches, and it looks as if they have carried this into the beginning of the new season. They look really up for the game.
Di Maria follows suit, and attempts the same thing as his team-mate, this time from the right-hand side. The Argentine cuts inside and smashes a shot at goal, but like Ronaldo's, it goes wide.
Ronaldo doesn't take long to get involved in the action! The Portuguese, in typical fashion, speedily drives down the left before cutting inside and lashing a strike at goal. Just by the post.
The new La Liga season is underway for Real Madrid and Valencia!
The teams are in and this is how Real Madrid will be lining up tonight: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Alonso, Diarra; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Higuain
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be reporting on the play-by-play this evening. Let's hope we have a cracking match! Two teams who love to play nice football.
The curtain raiser for the new Spanish Primera Division is upon us, and I, for one, can't contain my excitement! It's great to have the best league on the planet back underway!
This is the starting XI of Valencia, who start the season under the management of Mauricio Pellegrino: Alves; Pereira, R. Costa, Ruiz, Mathieu; T. Costa, Gago; Feghouli, Jonas, Guardado; Soldado
Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Spanish Primera Division match between Real Madrid and Valencia at Santiago Bernabeu.
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