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December 22, 2012
• Estadio La Rosaleda, Málaga
Referee: Alejandro José Hernández Hernández
• Attendance: 28004
R. Santa Cruz 73', 76'
Sergio Sánchez 66' (own goal)
K. Benzema 82'
Full time in La Rosaleda. Real Madrid's title chances take another massive blow as they go down 3-2 against Malaga. Jose Mourinho made the controversial decision to leave Iker Casillas on the bench tonight and it has backfired on the Portuguese, who will no doubt be vilified in the Spanish media for his decision. Manuel Pellegrini's men very worthy winners and now go two points behind Los Blancos. La Liga now goes on a winter break so see you in 2013!
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Sami Khedira
Cynical challenge from Sami Khedira. The German sums up the frustration of Real Madrid as he clips the heels of Jesus Gamez as Malaga counterattack.
Very poor from Pepe. Madrid are enjoying a decent period of possession inside the Malaga final third and the ball comes to the Portuguese 30 yards out. Instead of keeping Malaga under pressure he opts to have a crack at goal, but his attempts sails harmlessly over the bar.
A small break in play at the moment as Sergio Sanchez and Sergio Ramos are currently down after clashing heads. Not for the first time this match, the duo bravely contest a tackle with each other. It looks like they'll be okay.
Malaga are attempting to curb the ascendancy of Real Madrid by calmly keeping possession in the midfield area. Mourinho's men are pressing with intensity but it is clever play from the hosts.
Yellow Card Joaquín
Assist Mesut Özil
Goal Karim Benzema
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAL FOR REAL MADRID! What a game! Camacho is caught in possession in the middle of the park and Real Madrid counterattack. Ozil eventually picks out Benzema inside the box who coolly slots home! 3-2! We promised you a grandstand finish!
Great save from Caballero again! The ball is clipped to Benzema at the back post and the Frenchman rifles a half-volley towards goal that is wonderfully tipped over the ball by the Malaga keeper'!
Yellow Card Pepe
Pepe receives a yellow card for kicking out at Jesus Gamez. A scuffle ensued between the duo and the Portuguese showed some petulance. Slightly lucky still to be on the park.
Last change from Jose Mourinho. Luka Modric comes on for Xabi Alonso. They have just under 10 minutes to save this game, and possibly their season.
Goal Roque Santa Cruz
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL FOR MALAGA!! 3-1!!! Joaquin slips a lovely pass in behind the Madrid defence for Santa Cruz who emphatically smashes the ball into the bottom left corner!! Ohhh it appears Antonio Adan got his angles wrong there! It was a great finish, though!
The atmosphere is electric inside La Rosaleda at the moment. The home crowd are really getting behind their side. The next goal in the match is so, so crucial!
Goal Roque Santa Cruz
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAL FOR MALAGA!!! Jesus Gamez send a cross to the front post and Joaquin cleverly flicks the ball towards goal. Adan makes the save but the ball drops perfectly for Santa Cruz at the back post, who smashes home! 2-1!
Real Madrid look revitalised after scoring their equaliser. Ronaldo, Ozil, Benzema, and Callejon all look much sharper in the final third. I think we are in for a grandstand last 20 minutes here.
Yellow Card C. Ronaldo
A slightly defensive change from Malaga now. The ball-winning midfielder, Manuel Iturra, is introduced into the action in place of Portillo.
What a fantastic tackle from Sergio Sanchez! Ozil dances his way through the defence and has the goal at his mercy. He pulls the trigger but his shot is heroically blocked by the Malaga defender!
Own Goal Sergio Sánchez
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAL FOR REAL MADRID!!! That looked like an own goal!! Ronaldo lobs the ball to the back post and a massive scuffle ensues inside the Malaga box. Benzema appears to kick the ball off Sergio Sanchez and in! 1-1! A slice of luck for Los Blancos!
Roque Santa Cruz
Ángel Di María
Manuel Pellegrini follows suit and makes a change of his own. Javier Saviola, who has put in a fantastic shift up front, is replaced by on-loan Manchester City striker, Roque Santa Cruz.
Jose Mourinho rolls the dice again and makes another substitution. The disappointing Angel Di Maria is replaced by Kaka. Madrid's bench really is a plethora of talent.
Wonderful tackle from Demichelis!! Madrid counterattack and are three-on-two against the Malaga defenders. Ronaldo drives towards goal and looks set to pull the trigger but the former Bayern Munich defenders comes in with a superb block at the back post.
First change of the match now as Jose Callejon is introduced into the action in place of Arbeloa. Attacking substitution from Jose Mourinho.
Speculative effort from Benzema. The Frenchman collects the ball on the edge of the box and lashes a left-footed strike towards the bottom corner but it is dragged wide. Decent hit but the direction was off.
Saviola shoots inches wide! So very unlucly! Malaga pop the ball around outside the Madrid box and the ball eventually comes to the 31-year-old who twists a shot towards the top corner but it grazes the paint off the post! Malaga have been superb since the break.
Unlucky from Joaquin! The Malaga man goes on a marauding run down the left wing and quickly cuts inside before attempting to curl the ball into the far corner but his strike goes just wide! Adan was scrambling there!
Malaga looking dangerous here! Portillo bursts through the centre of the Real Madrid defence and powers a strike towards goal but Adan makes a solid save to his right-hand side! Real Madrid looking shaky here!
GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAL FOR MALAGA!!! Joaquin picks out Isco on the edge of the box and the former Valencia youngster fires a fantastic strike into the bottom left corner! Adan had no chance!
The second half has started at the same as as the first, with both teams pressing with a high intensity. With the game as open as it has been, surely it won't be too long until we see a goal.
We are back under way at La Rosaleda!
Half time at La Rosaleda. A very intriguing contest so far as Real Madrid and Malaga cancel each other out at the break. Willy Caballero pulled out a world class save in the opening stages to deny Ronaldo, who also missed a sitter a the back post. Apart from that not a lot in terms of goalmouth action, but certainly an entertaining contest. Join us in 15 minutes for the second half!
Benzema receives the ball in a good position on the left-hand side of the box and flashes pass into the feet of Ozil at the penalty spot but the ball just bounces off the German and Malaga claim possession. There does not seem to be a lot of cohesion in the Real Madrid attack at the moment.
Benzema's touch lets him down at the vital moment! Ronaldo finds the Frenchman with a neat pass into the box but the former Lyon man languishes in possession and allows Gamez to come in and clear with a vital touch away!
Alonso whips a wicked free kick to the back post but Malaga manage to clear the ball to safety. Real Madrid quickly pick up possession and look to attack again.
Another set-piece chance for Real Madrid, this time from the left-hand side. Arbeloa runs in between Gamez and Joaquin but is clipped on his way through. Xabi Alonso will take the free kick.
Madrid have had a couple of potentially dangerous attacks break down in the last couple of minutes due to bad touches. Both Benzema and Ozil have been guilty of allowing Malaga players to get a tackle in when they looked to have control of the ball.
Malaga have retreated into their own half slightly now and Real Madrid are the team enjoying possession inside the opposition half. No real penetration as of yet but they look a lot calmer on the ball.
Sergio Sanchez has been patched up and has now returned to the action.
Fantastic defending from Joaquin. The former Valencia kept up pace with Ronaldo down the left-hand side before clawing the ball away with a superb sliding tackle. Malaga counterattack.
Sergio Sanchez is currently down after receiving a nasty bump on the nose inside the Real Madrid box. It looked accidental but he has drawn blood on his face. He'll have to go off for treatment.
Yellow Card Sergio Ramos
First booking of the match goes to Sergio Ramos. The ball comes off the hand of the Madrid man in his own half and, as per the rules in Spain, is given a yellow card. That is his fifth of the season so he will be suspended for Real Madrid's next match.
Unlucky from Di Maria! The Argentine gets on the end of a glorious pass inside from Ronaldo and takes a genius first touch before dinking the ball over Caballero, but Monreal is there to make a vital interception and clear up the park! That would have been one of the goals of the season!
What a miss from Ronaldo!!! Real Madrid break forward at tremendous pace through the middle and the Portuguese slips an excellent pass down the inside right channel for Di Maria. He runs to the back post and gets on the end of the return pass but slices his shot wide withe the goal gaping! Nine times out of 10 Ronaldo scores those chances.
It is a poor corner kick and Karim Benzema, with one of his first touches of the match, clears the ball up the park.
Madrid can't get out of their own half at the moment. On more than one occasion they have attempted to burst up the park but have ended up being hunted down by the pressing of Malaga. Joaquin earns a corner kick and the crowd kicks up a gear.
Speculative shot by Joaquin. Eliseu dances through the middle of the Madrid midfield and picks out his team-mate on the edge of the box. The Spaniard goes for the top corner but he end up sending the ball high into the stand. Good move but a poor shot in the end.
Now it's Malaga's turn to be let off the hook. Ronaldo latches on to a pass from Ozil through the centre but the linesman puts up his flag and the hosts get a free kick. It looked like the Portuguese was level with Monreal at left-back.
Malaga looking the more likely at the moment. Isco is dropping into very dangerous positions just in front of the Real Madrid defence. Madrid staying solid for the moment, however.
It cannot be too long until we see the opening goal. Both sides are bombing forward and, as a result, a lot of space is being created in the final third.
It really is end-to-end stuff here. Apart from Caballero's save from Ronaldo we haven't had too much goalmouth action but that is because both sides are closing down with tremendous intensity. There's no way they can keep this tempo up for long.
Real Madrid are let off the hook as Javier Saviola runs through on goal but the play is pulled back for an offside. The Argentine was level with Sergio Ramos when running through. Poor decision.
Arbeloa looks to get revenge for the tackle by Portillo on Di Maria. The former Liverpool man cynically and strongly takes out the Malaga man from behind and the hosts are awarded a free kick. The game has started at electric pace!
A fiery start to the match has been summed up by a very strong tackle by Portillo on Di Maria. The Argentine is put up in the air by the Malaga man, who did actually get the ball first. A small scuffle ensues but the referee keeps his head.
Ronaldo turns terrifically in the centre and drives towards the Malaga goal at pace. He attempts to slide a pass through the middle for Di Maria but the pass was slightly over-hit and Caballero comes out to make the claim.
What a save from Willy Caballero!!! Ronaldo's free kick flashes towards goal but the Malaga goalkeeper makes an outstanding stop with his strong left hand! That really was fantastic goalkeeping!
An early chance here for Madrid to get a shot on goal. Ronaldo is fouled 30 yards from goal by Sergio Sanchez and the Portuguese has his eye on the free kick.
This is the first time in 10 years that Iker Casillas has been dropped, will this huge decision backfire on Jose Mourinho?
We are under way at La Rosaleda!
What do we make of the decision by Jose Mourinho? Make sure you post your thoughts, feelings, and predictions on the match on to the chat section of our Live Match Centre!
This may be a good time to play Real Madrid, and the way they are playing a the moment, one of the last places they would like to visit would be La Rosaleda. Malaga can go just two points behind Los Blancos in the table with a victory tonight.
Surely it is not possible that the Portuguese coach would drop the club's number one goalkeeper for tactical reasons, is it? There is certainly something going on behind the scenes at Real Madrid.
Well, some very, very interesting news sprouts from the announcement of those teams. Real Madrid club captain, Iker Casillas, has been dropped to the bench by Jose Mourinho.
This is how Real Madrid will be lining up tonight: Adan; Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Essien; Alonso, Khedira; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Benzema.
This is the starting XI of Malaga: Caballero; Gamez, Sanchez, Demichelis, Monreal; Camacho, Portillo; Eliseu, Isco, Joaquin; Saviola.
THE TEAMS ARE IN.
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be taking you through the action this evening. The match features the teams placed 3rd and 4th in La Liga this evening, so I think we can expect a 90 minutes full of quality and, hopefully, goals!
Good afternoon folks! Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Spanish Primera Division clash between Malaga and Real Madrid at La Rosaleda!
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