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Deportivo La Coruña
April 8, 2012
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: Carlos Clos Gomez
• Attendance: 72000
FULL-TIME: Real Madrid 0-0 Valencia. In the space of just a single month Madrid's lead at the top of La Liga has been cut from 10 points to just four, following two more dropped points this evening. Valencia did brilliantly to thwart their opponents, and owe a lot to the goalkeeping heroics of Guaita, although they did have chances of their own, most notably when Ricardo Costa headed on to the post in the first half. It's the first time Madrid have failed to score at the Bernabeu in the league this season, and with El Clasico on the horizon, is a result that will not be well-received by their manager Jose Mourinho. Thanks for joining me tonight! Goodbye.
90' + 4'
ANOTHER SAVE FROM GUAITA!!! Again from Karim Benzema, after Ronaldo had lofted the free-kick into the Valencia area.
90' + 3'
Soldado is shown a yellow card for a silly foul on Marcelo as the Brazilian was running away from the Valencia goal.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Roberto Soldado
90' + 1'
Valencia have been awarded a fortuitous free-kick 40 yards out after Arbeloa is penalised for backing in to Soldado. The ball is lifted into the area, but then sent packing by the fists of Iker Casillas. The referee awards a free-kick in favour of the keeper as he appeared to be fouled as the ball was played in.
FOUR MINUTES OF ADDED TIME...
Valencia are running the clock down here. Dani Parejo is down with cramp to waste a few seconds, but is receiving no concern for the referee, who tells him to get on with it!
Two minutes to go plus stoppage time and Valencia are still hanging in there. It's been a really determined and gritty performance from Emery's side tonight. Can they hold out these last few minutes? Or even pinch a winner?
Di Maria kills the ball dead before setting off down the left but disappointingly chooses to shoot from the angle when he really should have looked to cross to any one of his four team-mates queuing up inside the area.
THIS MATCH IS ON A KNIFE EDGE!!
TOP SAVE FROM CASILLAS!! Soldado nods the ball on to Jordi Alba, who is flying forward from left-back, but Madrid's keeper is out quickly to close the angle and block the youngster's effort at goal.
Unsurpisingly we see Ozil make way for Callejon. Can the youngster's fresh legs prove the difference in this one? Let me know your thoughts on twitter @charliefscott.
Valencia's midfield have dominated the centre of the pitch this evening, the likes of Ozil and Alonso have been uncharacteristically quiet for the home side.
Di Maria attempts the sublime from 25 yards after fashioning some space, chipping the ball high over both Guaita and the crossbar. I think he was trying to repeat his effort against APOEL during the week.
Guaita is certainly earning his wage in this second half, he's pulled off a handful of fantastic saves in the past ten minutes alone!!
DOUBLE SAVE FROM GUAITA!!!! The Valencia keeper is doing his job and keeping his side in this one. Twice he denies Benzema in quick succession, after the forward was played in by Cristiano Ronaldo on the left. Benzema cannot believe he hasn't scored there.
Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia
ANOTHER CHANCE FOR MADRID!!! Benzema should possibly do better there. He's scored 28 goals this season, but the Frenchman can only drag his right foot shot wide from the edge of the area.
And here comes Soldado for Valencia. He couldn't start this match because of flu, but could he turn out to prove the match winner?
GREAT SAVE FROM GUAITA!!! Strong hand from the Valencia keeper to tip Di Maria's swerving effort over the bar and out for a corner.
Valencia nearly take the lead!!! The substitute Jeremy Mathieu fizzes one into Casillas' side netting from a tight angle. The away side are going for it here! Hats off to them.
A very attacking substitution from the home side. Kaka is on for Khedira as Mourinho goes in search of goals.
He tripped himself! Brilliant officiating from the man in red. Replays show that Victor Ruiz is nowhere near Ronaldo as he goes to ground.
WHAT IS RONALDO DOING THERE??!! The attacker has gone down under pressure from Victor Ruiz as he raced onto a throughball from Benzema. Was there contact? Waiting on a replay here...
And that is exactly what Madrid need here. GOALS. It looks like Callejon may be introduced shortly, and despite being in and out of the first team this season, the young Spaniard has still notched 12 goals for his side.
He's been quiet in this second half but I wouldn't keep your eyes off Cristiano Ronaldo. He's scored four in four against Valencia since his move to Madrid.
Yellow Card Parejo
His strike is awful though and goes high over Guaita's crossbar.
Dani Parejo chops Di Maria 35 yards out, and Ronaldo lines up the free-kick.
Piatti and Feghouli make way for Valencia. They've both put in good shifts for the away side tonight, particularly the latter of the two. They are replaced by Jeremy Mathieu and Pablo Hernandez.
Yellow Card Tino Costa
Classic Pepe. He's definitely got a career on the stage when he retires. More writhing on the floor after the smallest of touches from Aduriz. Even his own team-mate Arbeloa looks unimpressed.
Yellow Card Ángel Di María
Players from both sides are going flying into challenges as this half begins to warm up!!
Di Maria is shown a yellow card after handling the ball following what he perceived was a foul from Costa.
Victor Ruiz is all over Benzema there and that should be a free-kick to Madrid. It's not given though, and the ball eventually falls to Ronaldo who strikes it towards goal, it hits the now offside Benzema and strikes the post. Play is brought back by the ref because Benzema was in an offside position after being fouled. Chaotic passage of play there!!
WHAT A STRIKE THAT IS!!!! Valencia strike the woodwork for the second time this evening, Tino Costa letting rip from 30 yards. Casillas is nowhere near it, and the crossbar comes to his rescue. The Madrid keeper patted the woodwork after the ball bounced away, a small thank you do we think?
I think it must be pretty windy inside the Bernabeu because Piatti has just gone down as easily as Ozil did a couple of minutes ago. The resulting free-kick is struck towards goal by Tino Costa, but is blocked by the Madrid wall.
Ozil is looking for a penalty there, but I'm not really sure there is much in that one. Tino Costa is running alongside the German inside the area, and the slightest of touches sends the Madrid man tumbling to the deck. The referee waves his protests away and it is a Valencia goal-kick.
Good play from Valencia in the opening minutes of this half. Dani Parejo sprays a wonderful ball out to the overlapping Ricardo Costa on the right, who beats Marcelo before dinking an inviting ball across the Madrid six yard box. Sadly, none of his team-mates are on the same wavelength as the right-back however, and the ball eventually drifts out to Arbeloa on the right.
Virtual high five, as promised, goes to @gautamw96, who correctly answered that Madrid have one just one of their past seven league games that has been 0-0 at half-time. Very quick response there, I'm impressed.
Yellow Card Sami Khedira
Mourinho has changed it for the second half, just as we thought he might. Higuain is replaced by the mercurial Angel Di Maria for the home side.
Ángel Di María
I've barely had time to settle back in to my chair and Ronaldo has already nearly given his side the lead!!! Great save from Guaita to push the Portuguese man's low effort round the post. A good strike, but an even better save.
And the second half is under way here...
In the last seven league games that Real Madrid have gone in at half-time with the score at 0-0, guess how many of those games they have gone on to win? First correct answer to @charliefscott gets a virtual high five.
It is worth bearing in mind that this is only the second time this season that Madrid have failed to score in the first half of a league game at the Bernabeu. Although... the only other time it happened they did go on to win 4-1 against Real Betis...
HALF-TIME: Real Madrid 0-0 Valencia. I would not want to be in that Madrid dressing room right now. The home side have been surprisingly poor this evening, a deflected Cristiano Ronaldo effort that struck the post being the closest they have come to scoring. The away side meanwhile, will be delighted with their performance, and they could easily have taken the lead had Ricardo Costa shown more composure in front of goal. Instead, his header struck the post, meaning the score remains goalless. This one is far from over guys. Join me in ten minutes for the second half of this finely-poised La Liga match!
And there is the referee's whistle for the end of the half.
Jordi Alba looks to have taken a knock, and stays down for a moment. Valencia are running the clock down as we approach the interval. Sensible play from Emery's side.
Pepe really does mix the sublime with the obscene. The defender does brilliantly to win the ball off Piatti but then destroys all that good work by throwing himself to the floor as if he has been shot when he is dispossessed by Tino Costa. What goes through that man's head I do not know.
Ronaldo tries to go it alone, and he nearly does. The attacker hits a firm left-foot effort goalwards that Rami has to dive in front of and put out for a corner.
PIATTI HAS GOT TO DO BETTER THERE!!! The Argentine is gifted possession inside the Madrid half, and despite having Aduriz for company to the right he elects to go it alone, running into trouble and eventually being tackled by the recovering Pepe on the edge of the box. That was a big chance for the away side.
The marauding Marcelo is hauled down in full flight, as the game begins to heat up as we approach half-time.
Yellow Card Arbeloa
Tino Costa does brilliantly running with the ball down the right and the only way Arbeloa can stop him is by throwing out an arm. The referee spots it and correctly awards a free-kick and shows Arbeloa the first yellow card of the evening.
Really good build-up play from Sofiane Feghouli to set up that chance for Piatti. He has been everywhere tonight the midfielder. What an engine!
SCRAP THAT CASILLAS BASHING!!! That is a brilliant reaction save from the keeper. Pablo Piatti fashions some space inside the Madrid area before striking a low effort towards the bottom left-hand corner but Casillas throws out a strong arm to stop the ball and push it to safety.
INow ker Casillas slices a clearance out for a corner! The usually solid goalkeeper is looking nervy out there in this first half.
THAT'S WHY PEPE IS A CENTRE-BACK. The defender carries the ball 35-40 yards before unleashing a strike from a long way out that is high, wide, and not at all handsome. Stick to your own half Pepe.
Minutes later he then flaps at a corner. The home side need to sort themselves out here.
Madrid look rattled by that Valencia chance!! A hopeful free-kick is lofted into the Madrid area from inside the Valencia half, and Casillas completely misses it! Luckily for him, it goes out for a free-kick.
That would have been a surprise lead!! Madrid have gone to sleep in the last few minutes, much to Jose Mourinho's obvious disgust.
Corner to Valencia. And they very nearly take the lead!!! Albiol clears the initial cross but only as far as the edge of the area, where Tino Costa is waiting to hit the ball back towards goal. Casillas pulls off a decent save but pushes the ball straight to Ricardo Costa, who heads onto the post from 10 yards out.
Typically, just as I say that, Gonzalo Higuain breaks down the right before hooking a ball high, back across goal to Ronaldo, but it is just too high for the attacker, and his header goes harmlessly over the bar.
Valencia will be happy with their performance so far in this match, they have hassled Madrid well, and restricted them to few clear-cut chances.
Ronaldo goes down inside the Valencia area under pressure from Rami, and looks expectantly towards the referee for a penalty, but his claims are waved away, and rightly so. Replays show that is it his momentum that takes him to the floor, rather than a foul from the defender.
Ronaldo is trying to take this game by the scruff of the neck but each time he has got possession in the last couple of minutes he has been quickly closed down by the hard-working midfield duo of Tino Costa and Topal.
It is stop and start here at the Bernabeu, with both teams struggling to keep hold of the ball at the moment. Alvaro Arbeloa tries to spice things up with a hugely ambitious cross-field ball to Gonzalo Higuain, but it is coolly intercepted by Adil Rami.
That amounts to nothing however, and Valencia go straight up the other end and win a corner.
Madrid have got a free-kick in a very dangerous area here. A couple of yards outside the area, to the left of centre.
Marcelo goes off on a lovely little jaunt down the left for Madrid, nutmegging Tino Costa before eventually being dispossessed. Great play from the Brazilian.
@nishant_pant reckons Madrid are going to get an 'easy home win' this evening. He predicts at least four goals for the home side! That would be keeping with their recent form in all fairness.
GOOD EFFORT FROM VALENCIA!!!! Feghouli strikes a speculative effort goalwards from distance that has Iker Casillas scrambling momentarily. Much to the Spain international's relief, the ball flies just wide.
RONALDO HITS THE POST!!!!! The Portuguese forward dummies to shoot a couple of times outside the area, and this enables him to work enough space to get a right-foot shot away, and what a shot it is! The Valencia goalkeeper Guaita can only watch as it takes a nick off the boot of Topal before flying past him and thumping onto his left-hand post before bouncing to safety.
Mesut Ozil nearly plays Karim Benzema in with a neat flicked pass from the right but Jordi Alba is alert to the danger and flings out a leg to block the attempted through-ball. Good defending from the youngster there.
Pepe throws himself to the ground rather theatrically in the right-back position, and is clearly looking for a foul. The referee has absolutely none of it however, and waves play on.
CHANCE FOR MADRID!!!! That man Cristiano Ronaldo works some space on his left foot 30 yards from goal before unleashing a strike that flies a couple of yards wide of Vicente Guaita's goal.
Pepe does well to steal the ball from Aduriz and avert the early danger, but Valencia soon have the ball again on the edge of the Madrid box. Sofiane Feghouli whipping a cross in from the right that Raul Albiol emphatically heads to safety.
And we are off! Madrid take possession from the kick-off, but promptly lose it in the right-back position, giving Valencia the first opportunity to attack.
The teams are out on the pitch at the Bernabeu, and exchange the usual pleasantries before taking up their positions.
Can Valencia get anything from this match without Roberto Soldado? His replacement Aritz Aduriz has scored just six goals this season...
Don't forget guys, you can get in touch with me via Twitter by sending your views and thoughts on tonight's game to @charliefscott. I will try my best to get as many of your tweets copied into this commentary!
The same, however, cannot be said of Valencia's talismanic striker Roberto Soldado, with the in-form striker restricted to a place on the bench for Unai Emery's side this evening after complaining of illness during the build-up to the game. Aritz Aduriz comes in to replace him as a lone striker for the away side. Valencia are also weakened at the back by the news that Miguel has failed to shake off a hamstring injury, meaning Ricardo Costa will start at right-back.
Mourinho enjoys the luxury of welcoming back a host of rested players following their midweek victory over Apoel Nicosia in the Champions League quarter-final. Mesut Ozil and Karim Benzema return to his starting line-up while Angel Di Maria is named on the substitutes bench. Elsewhere, Sami Khedira has recovered from a bout of flu to take his place in central midfield.
Subs: Diego Alves, Maduro, Barragan, Mathieu, Pablo Hernandez, Jonas, Soldado
Valencia (4-2-3-1): Guaita; Ricardo Costa, Rami, Víctor Ruiz, Jordi Alba; Topal, Tino Costa; Parejo Feghouli, Piatti; Aduriz
Subs: Adan, Coentrao, Varane, Sahin, Kaka, Granero, Callejon, Di Maria.
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Albiol, Marcelo; Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Özil, Higuaín, Cristiano Ronaldo; Benzema
Here are tonight's lineups:
Despite this, Jose Mourinho and his side will be confident of restoring their six point lead over their rivals with a win tonight, as they face a Valencia side that have gone through a torrid run of form in recent months, winning just three of their past 14 league games.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of this evening's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu. I'm Charlie Scott and I'll be guiding you through tonight's action. Following Barcelona's impressive comeback against Real Zaragoza last night Madrid's lead at the top of La Liga has been cut to just 3 points going into this game.
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