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November 3, 2012
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: Javier Estrada Fernández
• Attendance: 67227
G. Higuaín 23'
Á. di María 25'
M. Essien 89'
L. Modrić 90'+
Shots on Target
That's all from me for tonight. Thanks for all your input on Twitter and thank you for following this commentary. Good night everyone!
FULL-TIME: REAL MADRID 4-0 ZARAGOZA Jose Mourinho recorded his 100th victory in charge of Madrid with an emphatic scoreline tonight at the Bernabeu. Madrid scored twice either side of half-time, with Higuain and Di Maria on the scoresheet in the first half before Essien and Modric added further goals late on in the game. Los Blancos won this match without even playing that well, which as the old saying goes 'is a sign of champions', apparently. Barcelona's lead at the top of La Liga is cut to eight points following this loss, with Madrid leaping ahead of Malaga and into third place.
90' + 3'
And there is the final whistle. Madrid run out 4-0 winners here, and they haven't even played that well!
90' + 2'
Goal Luka Modric
MODRIC ADDS A FOURTH!! 4-0 TO MADRID!! The Croatia international slides a low shot into the bottom left corner after the ball fell to him on the edge of the Zaragoza penalty area after Roberto had pulled off a double save from Ronaldo. Zaragoza are falling apart here!
90' + 1'
That was a lovely assist from Benzema to set up Essien's goal. I didn't appreciate that first time round but having seen a replay you've got to give the Frenchman credit there! It was a fine chipped pass to the Ghana international.
We are into added time here at the Bernabeu...
Assist Karim Benzema
Goal Michael Essien
GOALLLL!!! ESSIEN MAKES IT 3-0 TO MADRID!! The on-loan midfielder finishes off a lightning-quick counter attack with a smart finish past Roberto to put this game to bed and increase Madrid's lead to three goals with just minutes left on the clock.
Manolo Jimenez's final throw of the dice is to bring on Romaric for Jose Mari. They haven't got long to turn this round! Something needs to happen soon.
Benzema and Ozil combine well for Madrid but the final ball back to the Frenchman is off and Zaragoza are able to clear the ball away from their own penalty area.
WHAT A STRIKE FROM RONALDO!! The Madrid man forces a fabulous save from Roberto from the set piece, as he sends a swerving shot at goal from 35 yards out. Roberto did brilliantly to tip that onto the crossbar to keep the score at 2-0!
Madrid have a free kick 35 yards out... Guess who?
Arbeloa put in a decent performance playing out of position on the left tonight, particularly considering this was his first appearance in over two weeks having picked up a muscle injury while on international duty last month.
Mourinho's final substitution has been made, as the young full-back Nacho comes on for the final 10 minutes or so, with Arbeloa making way.
There's been some suspect offside calls from the linesmen tonight, with both men getting decisions wrong during the course of the game. Ronaldo would have been clean through just now after being found by a pass from Callejon but the official on the far side put his flag up for offside despite Ronaldo being clearly onside.
Zaragoza's second change is a like-for-like switch as they withdraw Helder Postiga and bring on fellow striker Carlos Aranda.
Apono has impressed me in midfield for Zaragoza tonight. He's not been afraid to go flying into tackles and has also shown some really positive touches in the Madrid half.
STAT: Real Madrid and Zaragoza have met 58 times at the Bernabeu. Los Blancos have won 48, drawn six and lost just four of those matches. They have scored 147 goals and conceded 55 during that time.
Yellow Card Cristian Sapunaru
Javier Álamo Cruz
Zaragoza make their first change. The striker Javi Alamo comes on for Victor Rodriguez as the visitors go in search of goals!
The possession stats show that Madrid haven't had it all their own way tonight, they are only just edging possession with 50.8% as opposed to Zaragoza's 49.2%.
Ángel Di María
Madrid make their second change of the evening as Callejon replaces the scorer of Madrid's second goal - Di Maria.
Ronaldo fires a shot straight at Roberto from 25 yards despite Benzema being well-positioned to his right! That was greedy from the Madrid attacker.
The Madrid boss has decided to shuffle his pack in order to shake things up, with Karim Benzema coming on for Higuain and Jose Callejon warming up on the sidelines.
Yellow Card Minero
Mourinho looks fairly peeved on the sidelines. His Madrid side have been firmly on the back foot in the last 15 minutes as Zaragoza have grown in confidence and the score should really be 2-1 following that wrong offside call that ruled out Postiga's strike.
POSTIGA HAS PULLED ONE BA..... Hang on the flag is up! He is never offside there! The Portugal international produces a fine piece of control inside the Madrid box before flicking a shot past Casillas and into the back of the net but the linesman on the near side has his flag up for offside. A VERY controversial decision there!
Zaragoza are knocking at the door here! Jose Mari hit the bar with that brilliant effort a few minutes ago and the away side have since won another free kick and two corners. A goal looks only a matter of time!
Jose Mari's cross fails to beat the first Madrid defender though, as the ball is deflected away to safety.
Ramos is shown a yellow card for a late tackle on Rodriguez over on the left and Zaragoza have a free kick and a chance to test Madrid's makeshift defence.
Yellow Card Sergio Ramos
ZARAGOZA HIT THE BAR!! Jose Mari sends a superb effort onto Casillas' bar from the edge of the Madrid penalty area after a good move involving Montanes and Rodriguez on the left-hand side. That was some strike from the Spaniard!
A penetrating run from Ronaldo on the right creates a shooting opportunity for Modric inside the Zaragoza box but his effort is always rising as he leans back as he strikes the ball, and it goes harmlessly over Roberto's crossbar.
The ball ricochets around the Madrid box before finally being cleared upfield by Ramos. Zaragoza immediately launch another attack though, with Casillas being called into action once again to parry away Apono's long-range strike.
Zaragoza are starting to force the issue here and have now won a corner on the right...
That's better from the away side! Victor Rodriguez forces Casillas into making a fine one-handed save after curling an effort at goal from 20 yards.
Strange decision from Apono. The midfielder opts to dink a pass towards the Madrid six-yard box from just outside the penalty area despite none of his team-mates being anywhere near where the ball lands...
Zaragoza win a throw-in on the left but fail to test Casillas after working the ball into the Madrid penalty area, with Michael Essien on hand for the home side to pass the ball out of defence.
Ronaldo drives straight at the centre of Zaragoza's defence but when he finally passes the ball to Higuain who has made a good run behind Abraham, the attacker overhits the through ball and it runs straight through to Roberto in the Zaragoza goal.
STAT: Zaragoza have lost five of their last six meetings with Real Madrid.
Ozil has really started to take control of the game in this second half and has been at the heart of a number of promising moves since the break. His latest foray down the right nearly results in a shooting chance for Ronaldo but the Portuguese attacker cannot quite take Ozil's pass in his stride as he careers into the penalty area.
Higuain is unfortunate to be flagged offside by the linesman on the far side after the ball had been slipped through to him by Ozil. The Argentine would have been one-on-one with Roberto if the whistle hadn't gone there. And he was onside!
Ozil swings a corner into the box from the right but Loovens gets on the end of it and heads the ball away to safety under pressure from both Pepe and Higuain.
Wow... that is some pass from Modric! With Madrid appearing content to play the ball around in midfield the Croatia international decides to step it up a notch by sending an outrageous outside-of-the-foot pass in the direction of Di Maria who is racing into the penalty area. Roberto is off his line promptly to steal the ball into his arms, otherwise that could well have been 3-0!
There's some considerable Twitter-love for Kaka being sent my way at the moment. Quite a few of you think the Brazilian will come on and score tonight. We will see! He certainly looked on good form against Alcoyano during the week.
Zaragoza get the ball rolling, let's hope there are more goals left in this match!
It's time for the second half! Mourinho is ready sat alone in the Madrid dugout. The teams meanwhile are making their way out on to the pitch as I type this...
So, Madrid look comfortable here at half-time. What do you guys reckon will be the final score? Send your predictions to @charliefscott!
HALF-TIME: REAL MADRID 2-0 ZARAGOZA The home side go in ahead at the break after scoring twice in quick succession midway through the first half. Gonzalo Higuain notched his 98th Liga goal from close range to give Madrid the lead before Angel Di Maria made it 2-0 with a well-taken finish from inside the Zaragoza box. Jose Mourinho's team look good value for their lead as they look to close Barcelona's Liga lead to eight points with a victory tonight. Join me in 10 minutes for the second half of this match!
And that's the end of the first half! Madrid lead Zaragoza 2-0 here at the Bernabeu.
Brilliant defending from Ramos. The Madrid right-back robs the ball from Apono before surging past a couple of Zaragoza challenges to move the ball away from danger.
Postiga hasn't had much luck in the opening 43 minutes. He's been the victim of a couple of dodgy refereeing decisions, with the latest a soft challenge on Ramos being deemed a foul by the referee and resulting in a free kick to the home side.
STAT: Madrid's first goalscorer Gonzalo Higuain is just two goals shy of his Liga century for the club, with his strike tonight moving him up to 98.
Jose Maria flicks a speculative effort towards Casillas' goal from a long way out but the Real Madrid goalkeeper watches it all the way as the shot loops over his crossbar and out for a goal kick.
Apono and Abraham are linking well down the left for Zaragoza in this first half, with the two exchanging a number of passes in the past few minutes as the visitors enjoy some extended periods of possession.
Yellow Card Luka Modric
Modric goes into the referee's notebook after flying through the back of Movilla as the Zaragoza midfielder tries to pass the ball forward. The former Spurs man can have no complaints about that booking, he was late with the challenge and got nowhere near the ball.
Ramos loses the ball to Abraham as he looks to bring it out of defence for Madrid but the away side fail to make the Spain international pay as Postiga is penalised for controlling the ball with his arm as he looks to take down Apono's cross inside the Madrid box.
STAT: Madrid have won four and drawn one of their last five league games, scoring 16 goals and conceding just three.
Ronaldo sends a tempting ball into the Zaragoza box from the left but Roberto is quick off his line to catch the ball as Higuain tries to get on the end of the cross. Good goalkeeping there from the Zaragoza No. 1.
POSTIGA HITS A TAME EFFORT WIDE!! The Zaragoza frontman sends a limp shot off target from the edge of the Madrid box after working some space between the two centre-backs Raul Albiol and Pepe. That was wasteful from the striker, he won't get many chances like that tonight.
Zaragoza have kept the ball well in the past couple of minutes but eventually lose possession on the left after Apono misplaced a pass to his team-mate Postiga.
@Ablodevi4ever reckons Madrid are going to win this one 8-0. If they continue at this rate that is not out of the question!
Mourinho resting players for their match against Alcoyano during the week appears to be paying dividends tonight. They look on top form.
Madrid are on fire here! Ozil and Modric are pulling the strings in midfield and Ronaldo has nearly just made it 3-0! The attacker fired a shot inches wide from the right-hand side of the Zaragoza box after being found superbly by Ozil.
Goal Ángel Di María
MADRID SCORE AGAIN! DI MARIA INCREASES THEIR LEAD!! The left-footed attacker is afforded two chances to force the ball home after ghosting into the penalty area on the right. His first shot is blocked well by Roberto but the ball lands straight back at Di Maria's feet and he makes no mistake with his second attempt as he sidefoots the ball into the far corner of the net. 2-0 to Madrid!
And yes, that was from a set piece, just seconds after I had said they have been disappointing in that area this season. What do I know, eh? Ha.
Goal Gonzalo Higuaín
HIGUAIN SCORES FOR MADRID!! The attacker blasts home from close range after Zaragoza failed to clear a corner from Luka Modric. Roberto did well to parry Arbeloa's headed effort from Modric's cross but the ball fell straight into the path of Higuain and he was never going to miss unmarked from two yards out!
Madrid have had two corners in the last two minutes but have failed to test Roberto from either of them. I've commentated on quite a few of their games this season and I've got to say I've been very disappointed by their set piece play. They have such talent in that department too!
FINE STOP FROM CASILLAS!! The Real Madrid goalkeeper produces a smart save to keep Helder Postiga's effort out after the Zaragoza forward managed to dispatch a shot at goal despite appearing to fall to the ground as he struck the ball. Zaragoza nearly took a surprise lead there!
RONALDO HEADS ANOTHER CHANCE OFF TARGET!! Alvaro Arbeloa supplies the cross this time, but again Ronaldo fails to make the most of the opportunity as he fires a header high over the Zaragoza crossbar. He should be making Roberto work there! That was a great chance to give Madrid the lead!
That's a robust challenge from Paco Montanes on Di Maria! The Zaragoza attacker plants his knee into the back of the Argentine's right leg and unsurprisingly the referee blows his whistle and awards a free kick to the hosts. Not sure what Montanes was thinking there...
RONALDO HEADS JUST WIDE!! The Portugal international nods the ball inches wide of Roberto's left-hand post after being set up beautifully by a cross from Di Maria on the right. Lovely play from Madrid!
Madrid will be desperate for a win tonight, particularly after Barcelona brushed aside Celta Vigo earlier this evening. Mourinho's men could narrow the gap between themselves and Barcelona to eight points should they secure a victory tonight, with Barcelona having won 28 out of a possible 30 points so far this campaign! Their best start to a Liga season ever!
Di Maria displays his electric pace on the right to keep a pass from Michael Essien from running out of play but having controlled the ball then fails to send a decent cross into the area as Zaragoza clear the ball away.
GOOD SHEPHERDING FROM LOOVENS!! The former Celtic man ushers Higuain off the pitch as he tries to barge his way towards Roberto's goal, with Zaragoza winning a goal kick following the Dutchman's forceful defending inside his own penalty area.
It's been a quiet opening to this match as both sides have failed to keep the ball in the early exchanges. A number of free kicks have broken up the play further, with Madrid failing to make the most of some promisingly-placed set pieces so far. After Ronaldo wasted one a few minutes ago, Di Maria contrives to do the same from a position on the right.
Los Blancos threaten to carve open the Zaragoza defence but a well-timed tackle from Apono on Luka Modric stops the Croatia international from slipping a pass through to Gonzalo Higuain who is waiting inside the Zaragoza box.
The set piece is wasted though as Ronaldo's effort flies straight into the wall!
Glenn Loovens catches Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid have a free kick 35 yards form goal.
Pepe has the ball in defence for Madrid and tries to thread a ball down the right to Angel Di Maria but his pass is wayward and is intercepted by Abraham.
Tonight is the Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho's 132nd game in charge of the capital-based side and should they beat Zaragoza it will be his 100th victory during that time. That is one hell of a record!
Apono plays the ball towards Helder Postiga, the Portugal international handed the task of leading the line for the away side tonight, but he cannot control the ball and it is nicked away by Sergio Ramos.
And away we go... Pepe makes an early clearance inside his own box after Zaragoza launch a smart break.
We are close to kick off here at the Bernabeu, as the two captains Iker Casillas and Roberto complete the customary handshake in the centre circle.
Don't forget guys and girls, you can get send me your thoughts or predictions at any point tonight by tweeting me @charliefscott. The most amusing or correct tweets may even find their way into this LIVE commentary!
Real Zaragoza (4-2-3-1): Roberto; Sapunaru, Alvaro, Loovens, Abraham; Movilla, Apono; Montanes, Jose Mari, Rodriguez; Postiga
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Ramos, Albiol, Pepe, Arbeloa; Essien, Modric; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Higuain
Cristiano Ronaldo has enjoyed playing against Zaragoza since his move to Spain and in his past two matches against the Aragonese outfit has found the back of the net on four occasions, so do not be surprised if he adds to that tonight. Ronaldo starts for Madrid having sat out their 4-1 Copa del Rey win over Alcoyano during the week, while Jose Mourinho has made a further eight changes to that winning side. All the team news for this match is coming right up...
Good evening one and all and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of tonight's Liga clash between Real Madrid and Zaragoza at the Santiago Bernabeu. Los Blancos are looking to stretch their unbeaten home run in all competitions to 21 as they entertain Manolo JImenez's side and close the gap between themselves and Barcelona in the league whilst doing so.
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