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March 18, 2012
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: Miguel Ángel Ayza Gámez
• Attendance: 73000
FULL-TIME: Real Madrid 1-1 Malaga. Santi Cazorla rescued his side a point at the Bernabeu with a fantastic free-kick deep in injury time in this match after Karim Benzema had given the home side a 1-0 lead in the first half. There will be cheers in the Guardiola household at that result, with Madrid's lead at the top cut to eight points. Thanks for joining me for the game this evening. What an exciting game it was! Goodnight everyone.
90' + 4'
The referee finally blows the final whistle. What a finale to this game!
90' + 4'
We are into the time added on to the time added on here!!
90' + 3'
Malaga are seconds away from a brilliant result here...
90' + 2'
Goal Santi Cazorla
GOAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!! SANTI CAZORLA HAS PUT THAT RIGHT IN THE TOP CORNER!! A superb free-kick from the diminutive genius goes flying into the top corner with Casillas beaten at full-stretch. Deep into injury time now.
90' + 1'
Cazorla lines it up...
Malaga win a free-kick 25 yards out. This could be their last chance to get something from this game...
Caballero does well to palm Marcelo's cross away from goal, but it goes only as far as Callejon, who fires a shot goalwards that is blocked well by Sanchez, much to Caballero's relief.
Yellow Card Pepe
Pepe is shown a yellow card for kicking the ball way after Lass had knocked Eliseu to the ground unfairly.
Will HIguain delight his fans on Twitter with a late goal in this one?!
Mourinho wastes a couple of minutes by using up his remaining two substitutes, Mesut Ozil is replaced by Estaben Granero, while Gonzalo Higuain comes on for the goalscorer Karim Benzema.
Van Nistelrooy is making his feelings known to Eliseu after the midfielder failed to pass the ball back to the Dutch striker after beating his man on the left-wing.
ANOTHER SAVE FROM CABALLERO!! The keeper gets down well to push a long-range effort from Callejon away to safety.
Eliseu races down the left before lifting a ball towards Seba at the back-post. The pass is slightly too heavy and Seba has to run wide to keep the ball in play, before eventually being dispossessed by Sergio Ramos.
Malaga have 10 minutes to get an equaliser here, and they will grow in confidence the longer this match remains 1-0.
@WarpdElfAtYrSvc has been on Twitter to say 'Who cares re: Benzema or Higuain - which is better? We got 'em both, the other teams don't!' It is a fair point if you are a Madrid fan! Still, everyone will have a favourite from the two!
Malaga regroup well, and Alonso slows the move down after realising the counter attack was no longer on.
Alonso has flown in with a couple of late challenges in the last 10 minutes, with his most recent attempt resulting in a free-kick on the right to Malaga. It again amounts to nothing though, and Madrid look to counter attack immediately.
Twitter appears to backing Benzema in our on-going Benzema vs Higuain debate, despite the Frenchman being guilty of missing a couple of easy chances in this second half. Keep your views coming, to @charliefscott.
Eliseu takes the set piece, he continues one of tonight's themes by hitting his effort into the wall. Both sides have been impotent from free-kicks in this contest.
Joaquin wins a free-kick 25 yards from the Madrid goal after a heavy challenge from Xabi Alonso. That is the winger's last contribution as he is replaced by Seba Fernandez before the free-kick is taken.
BENZEMA SHOOTS WIDE!!! Those on Twitter saying Benzema's a better finished than Higuain should look away now. The Frenchman has just fluffed his lines from a couple of yards out, shooting wide after more superb build-up play, this time from Mesut Ozil.
CLOSE FROM CALLEJON!!! The substitute nearly scores with his very first touch but instead heads just wide following a delightful dinked cross from Ronaldo on the left.
Some quick feet from Marcelo on the edge of the box allow him the space to thread the ball through to Ronaldo inside the area, but the linesman has his flag up on the far side, with replays showing that is a pretty harsh decision!
Callejon takes to the field to replace Kaka. The Brazilian was quiet this evening, after impressing in their trouncing of CSKA during the week. Perhaps Pellegrini's use of Martin Demichelis in defensive midfield has stifled the former Milan player's impact tonight.
It is end to end stuff here at the Bernabeu, this game is far from over!
Ronaldo does brilliantly to skin Weligton for pace down the left but his pullback is poor and Sanchez is able to clear the ball away to safety.
Yellow Card Sami Khedira
After Benzema appeared to be racing away in our debate on Twitter between who is better, him or Higuain, a number of people have come back in support of the Argentine, with @fastforwardrepl claiming Higuain is the more clinical finisher, and @dallasnix saying Higuain is more consistent than Benzema. The debate rumbles on! Let me know your thoughts, @charliefscott.
WHAT A SAVE FROM CABALLERO!!!! Ronaldo appears to have made it 2-0 after curling an effort towards the bottom corner with his right foot, but suddenly Caballero's hand shoots out from nowhere to deflect the Portuguese star's effort over the bar. A fantastic save from the Malaga stopper.
BENZEMA NEARLY MAKES IT 2-0!!!! Kaka dances past Sergio Sanchez on the left before cutting the ball back to Benzema, but the pass appears to take the striker by surprise, with his effort flying over Caballero's crossbar.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
And there is the substitution the fans have been waiting for; former Madrid hero Ruud van Nistelrooy takes to the field to replace Rondon upfront for Malaga.
One of our other writers Roger Gonzalez @RCGonzalez10 has tweeted his allegiances, 'I take Gonzalo!'.
There is a lot of love for Benzema on Twitter this evening it seems, with @DavidKhan3, @mbsz1991 and @lilbabyak all jumping on the Frenchman's bandwagon as we debate who is the better player, Gonzalo Higuain or Karim Benzema.
Yellow Card Sergio Sánchez
Sergio Sanchez is shown a yellow card after barging into the back of the marauding Marcelo as he looks to break down the left for Madrid.
There is a smattering of applause from both sets of fans as Malaga striker and former Madrid star Ruud van Nistelrooy warms up on the sidelines.
BENZEMA GOES DOWN INSIDE THE AREA!! Weligton's challenge on the Frenchman is deemed to be a fair one by the referee. That's a big decision there, a penalty could easily have been given.
Monreal does well to snuff out a Madrid attack on the right-hand side as the away side continue their confident start to the second period.
Kaka gives away a silly free-kick for pulling back Santi Cazorla as the Malaga man looked to be running into trouble inside his own half.
Malaga have started this second half well and have looked comfortable in possession.
A brilliant reply to the Benzema-Higuain debate from @khouari1: It has to be Benzema as we both have the same first name!
We are back under way at the Bernabeu...
@syl_sam has been in touch on Twitter to comment on the Madrid players wearing t-shirts in support of Eric Abidal before the game: 'How nice to hear about Mourinho and his get well message to Abidal, despite the deep rivalry between the two clubs.' It is a good point, and emphasises how the football community have come together in support of both Eric Abidal and Bolton Wanderers' Fabrice Muamba as they both battle with health problems. Football often gets a bad press, and often rightly so, but the outpouring of support and well wishes that have been given over the past couple of days to both players shows what a powerful and positive social tool football can be.
Right guys, here's one for you all. Someone on Twitter has been in touch to ask who I prefer, Gonzalo HIguain or Karim Benzema. Instead of me giving my thoughts, I would really love to hear your opinions. Get in touch on twitter by sending your views to @charliefscott.
HALF-TIME: Real Madrid 1-0 Malaga. The home side lead courtesy of a 35th minute goal from Karim Benzema after good build-up play from Cristiano Ronaldo. Last time these sides met, Madrid were 4-0 at this point in the game, so Malaga must be happy to have kept the score at just 1-0 so far in this one, and the away side have looked dangerous at times, with Rondon and Cazorla particularly lively. Join me in ten minutes for the second half of this exciting game.
45' + 1'
Casillas flaps at the cross initially but is able to throw himself onto the ball before any of the Malaga players can take advantage.
45' + 1'
Malaga have a free-kick...
Madrid look to grab a second before half time, but Ronaldo's cross is poor and goes harmlessly over Caballero's bar for a goal-kick.
Unlike their Catalan rivals, Madrid don't need to suffocate their opposition by dominating possession. Malaga have shaded this half in terms of possession, yet Madrid are in the lead. The home side are just so so dangerous on the counter attack.
ANOTHER FREE-KICK FOR MADRID!! And another disappointing attempt! This time from Xabi Alonso.
Five minutes to go in this half, with Madrid in the lead courtesy of Karim Benzema. Things haven't got all the home side's way though, with Isco and Rondon both afforded space and time to get shots away earlier in the half.
Joaquin knocks a cheeky nutmeg through Kaka's legs on the left, and the Brazilian international does not like that one bit. He makes his feelings known immediately, with a hefty challenge on the Malaga winger.
The home side are camped on the edge of the Malaga box at the moment, with Sergio Ramos getting in on the action, having a shot from distance blocked by a Malaga defender.
The crowd are starting to make some noise at the Bernabeu now, and Madrid appear to have stepped it up a couple of gears, and go in search of a second through Kaka and Ronaldo.
Assist C. Ronaldo
Goal Karim Benzema
MADRID TAKE THE LEAD!!!! 1-0 to the home side.
Ronaldo gets the assist, flicking the ball through to Benzema, leaving Caballero completely wrong-footed and allowing the French striker an easy finish.
Ronaldo's effort from the set piece is horrible though, and flies high and wide.
Ronaldo finally gets a decision in his favour, with the referee awarding him a free-kick on the left-hand side 35 yards from goal.
NEARLY A BRILLIANT GOAL FROM BENZEMA!! The striker exchanges a quick-fire one-two with Ronaldo on the edge of the Malaga box before curling a right-foot effort towards the far corner from the left-hand side of the area. His effort flies inches wide!
Ronaldo is furious with the referee. After hurtling forward down the right, he is clearly obstructed by Martin Demichelis, but again the man in black awards nothing.
Joaquin has made an impressive start for Malaga playing on the right-hand side. He has looked tidy in possession with Marcelo struggling to deal with the former Valencia man at times.
Ronaldo goes down inside the Malaga penalty area under a challenge from Ignacio Camacho. The referee waves the Madrid player's protests away, despite the Malaga player making no contact with the ball, and a fair amount of contact with Ronaldo there.
Mathijsen does well to clear the corner with his head.
Lass does brilliantly to dispossess Monreal in Madrid's right-back position, and immediately sets his side off on a counter attack, switching the ball from right to left. Kaka streams forward down the left, eventually winning a corner after getting to the byline.
Ronaldo is down clutching his ankle after a robust challenge from Weligton. A number of the players have been losing their footing on the Bernabeu turf already this evening. Definitely something to keep an eye on as the game goes on.
Madrid launch a lightning counter attack but Ronaldo's pass through to Benzema is overhit, and Caballero rushes from goal to pick the ball up ahead of the Frenchman.
Ronaldo has been quiet so far in the opening quarter of an hour, but don't expect him to remain on the periphery of this match. He has scored more goals (10) against Malaga than he has against any other La Liga side!
But he too can only fire his effort into the wall. Disappointing set pieces from both sides early one.
FREE-KICK TO MALAGA. Santi Cazorla is lining it up, 25 yards from goal, left of centre...
Sergio Ramos then makes amends by clearing the resulting free-kick to safety with his head.
Malaga's Rondon looks to have the better of Sergio Ramos on the right, but the Madrid centre-back has other ideas, hauling the attacker down as he looks to sprint clear of the defender. Free-kick given.
MALAGA CHANCE!!! Nacho Monreal goes rampaging down the left before playing in Isco but the attacker's shot is wayward and goes wide of Casillas' left-hand post. He should have done better there!
It is Ozil who takes the set-piece though, but his firm effort can only find Rondon's chest in the wall, rather than the back of the net as planned.
FREE-KICK TO MADRID. Lass does really well to evade a couple of challenges before being hacked down 30 yards from goal. Ronaldo looks like he fancies this one.
MADRID NEARLY TAKE THE LEAD!! Pepe nearly gives Madrid the lead with a powerful header from a corner but Rondon is there inside the area to clear the ball away. Good defending from the attacker.
Cazorla is proving troublesome for Madrid's defence early on, and after slipping the ball through to Rondon inside the area a couple of minutes ago, he nearly repeats the trick, this time with Isco running on to his pass. Casillas is alert to the danger though, and quickly rushes out to claim the ball.
Madrid win a corner..... But Caballero plucks that one out of the air, and immediately looks to set Rondon free with a long goal-kick, Casillas comes out well to chest the ball away from the attacker and clear it back up the pitch.
MADRID HAVE A CHANCE!!! Ronaldo bursts through, and more miscommunication between Malaga's defenders allows him space to get a shot away but it is blocked and eventually cleared.
CHANCE FOR MALAGA!!! Santi Cazorla slips the ball through to Salomon Rondon, but Iker Casillas gets down well to parry Rondon's shot to safety.
Lass does well to find Benzema with a neat cross inside the area but the Frenchman's first-time flicked effort is caught comfortably by Caballero.
Karim Benzema very nearly fashions a shooting opportunity after an early miscommunication between the Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero and his defenders. The ball is eventually cleared to safety by Joris Mathijsen.
We are under way here at the Bernabeu, and Madrid quickly gain possession.
The players are out on the pitch and there's a nice touch from Mourinho's side, with the players wearing t-shirts in support of Barcelona's Eric Abidal and Bolton's Fabrice Muamba, both of whom are having to deal with events far more important than football at the moment. May I take this opportunity to say my thoughts and prayers are also with both players.
If you have any thoughts on the match as it unfolds, tweet me your views to @charliefscott and I will try and get the best ones copied into this commentary!
Despite Madrid going to this match as the heavy favourites, Malaga come to the Bernabeu full of confidence having won all three of their last three games.
Meanwhile, former Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini names just one striker, as he opts for a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Salomon Rondon given the task of playing alone upfront. Elsewhere in the side Martin Demichelis plays in a defensive midfield role in front of the back four.
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has replaced Gonzalo Higuain with Karim Benzema after the Frenchman impressed when coming on as a late substitute against CSKA following his return from injury. Lassana Diarra fills in for Alvaro Arbeloa at right-back.
Subs: Kameni, Eliseu, Gamez, Duda, Maresca, Fernandez, Van Nistelrooy
Malaga (4-2-3-1): Willy Caballero; Sergio Sanchez, Weligton, Mathijsen, Monreal; Demichelis, Camacho; Joaquin, Isco, Cazorla; Rondon
Subs: Adan, Carvalho, Sahin, Granero, Arbeloa, Higuain, Callejon
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Diarra, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Khedira; Ozil, Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo; Benzema
The teams are in, with Madrid making a couple of changes from the side that swept aside CSKA earlier this week.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of this evening's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Malaga at the Santiago Bernabeu. I'm Charlie Scott and I'll be guiding you through tonight's action. Jose Mourinho's side return to domestic action after thrashing CSKA Moscow in the Champions League during the week, and will be looking to restore their 10 point lead over Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a win in this match.
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