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Deportivo La Coruña
February 8, 2014
• Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: José Luis González González
• Attendance: 75624
G. Bale 7'
K. Benzema 25', 76'
Mario Gaspar 43'
G. dos Santos 69'
Full time in Santiago Bernabeu. A brilliantly entertaining affair ends as Real Madrid go level on points with Atletico Madrid at the top of the table with their city rivals about to play Almeria. Gareth Bale got the goalscoring ball rolling early on after latching on to a mistake from Dorado to score, with Benzema netting his first of the night a few minutes later. Villarreal grabbed a goal just before the break thanks to a stunning strike from Mario. Madrid netted their third thanks to a lovely move and finish form Jese, only for the Yellow Submarine to claw themselves back into contention once again thanks to a cracking free kick from Giovani dos Santos. However, Benzema scored his second of the evening with a lovely finish into the bottom corner, taking the match beyond Marcelino's men. Madrid are level on points with Atletico and three clear of Barca, with Los Cules and Los Colchoneros each still with a game to play. Villarreal find themselves three points adrift of the final Champions League spot. I'm Martin Macdonald, thanks for joining us tonight for this terrific match! See you next time!
Two minutes of injury time remaining. That fourth goal by Benzema really was a killer for Villarreal, who have looked deflated since it went in.
For the first point in the match tonight I can say with confidence that it doesn't like we are going to get another goal. The fast and furious pace of the opening 80 minutes has wained, and it looks like another three points for Los Blancos.
Real Madrid may have one eye on getting another goal themselves. If they can muster up one more, they'll go top of La Liga on goal difference. I'm sure they'll just be happy with the victory, though.
Just over five minutes of normal time remaining here. Probably enough time to grab one goal, but it's asking a lot for Villarreal to claw two back, especially with how Madrid are playing at the moment.
Madrid are just professionally knocking the ball around here, and with confidence too. The introduction of Xabi Alonso in beside Illarramendi has seem them take control of the midfield. Time running out for the Yellow Submarine.
Don't know how much Villarreal have got left in the tank here. They have shown superb fight and spirit to claw two goals back after going down another goal, but with only 10 minutes left, Madrid may just see the game out.
'Mooooodrrrriiiiic, Mooooooodriiiiiic' is the sound coming from the stands as the Real Madrid fans appreciate the Croatian, who shows incredible composure on the ball to shake off the challenges of three Villarreal players before instigating a counterattack.
That's Benzema's eighth goal in his last six games at home for Madrid! The Frenchman just loves scoring in the Santiago Bernabeu!
Assist Jesé Rodríguez
Goal Karim Benzema
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLL FOR REAL MADRID!!! The two-goal cushion is restored! Benzema latches on to a pass from Jese and closes his foot to pass a lovely strike into the bottom left corner! 4-2!
Madrid have another great shout for a penalty kick as Arbeloa drills a strike from the edge of the box that appears to his BOTH hands of Musacchio. The Argentine had his hands down though, which maybe helped his case.
Jese receives the ball to the left from Arbeloa and skips past a couple of challenges before shifting the ball on to his right foot. His eventual shot at goal is scooped wide after a pretty poor connection from the Madrid man.
It's been a supremely entertaining clash so far between these two terrific attacking sides. You still feel as if there is plenty more goals to come in Santiago Bernabeu!
Goal Giovani dos Santos
GOOOOOAAAALLLL GOOOOAAAALLLL GOOOAAAAALLL FOR VILLARREAL!! WHAT A RESPONSE AGAIN FROM THE VISITORS! Giovani dos Santos keeps his side in the match with a glorious free kick up and over the wall past Diego Lopez! 3-2! GAME. ON.
Ángel Di María
Carlo Ancelotti follows suit and makes a change of his own. Xabi Alonso replaces Di Maria.
Third and final change from Marcelino as Pereira is replaced by Jermey Perbet, who netted two goals in his last match. The Frenchman will add some strength in the final third for the visitors.
Jese's seventh of the season! What a player this young man is going to be! He already is, arguably!
Assist Ángel Di María
Goal Jesé Rodríguez
GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL FOR REAL MADRID!! WHAT A LOVELY MOVE!! Di Maria exchanges a tight one-two with Benzema before sliding a perfect pass through for Jese, who shifts the ball onto his right foot before stabbing a shot past the oncoming Asenjo! 3-1!
Joan Ángel Román
The visitors make their second change in quick succession as Moi Gomez is replaced by Joan Roman on the left-hand side of midfield.
Benzema shakes off the attentions of Dorado just on the edge of the box before attempting a neat one-two with Di Maria, but the former Benfica man's return pass is intercepted by Bruno, who moves the play forward.
Yellow Card Mario Gaspar
The booking are coming thick and fast for the Villarreal players now. Mario is the latest player to go into the book as he cynically pulls the shirt of Jese to end a Real Madrid counterattack.
First change of the match from Villarreal as Edu Ramos is replaced by Manu Trigueros. That'll be a like-for-like challenge in the middle of the park for the Yellow Submarine.
The Madrid fans are demanding a penalty! Benzema looks poised to get on the end of a cross from Jese, but is bundled over by the challenge of Dorado! That looked a definite spotkick, but the ref plays on!
CARVAJAL! How close was that?! The right-back shows superb attacking ambition to burst into the box and hit the byline. He's at an acute angle, but squeezes a shot away towards the far post. Just wide!
Yellow Card Jaume
Second yellow card of the match goes to Villarreal again, and it's Jaume Costa this time. The left-back couldn't deal with the pace of Bale, and opted to pull the shirt of the Welshman. Deserved booking.
Great work from Mario. The Villarreal right-back finds himself in a footrace with the speedy Jese, but shows a turn of pace himself to get his body in between the Madrid man and the ball.
Pooooor final ball from Di Maria! The Argentine breaks with pace down the left channel and has time to cross inside or have a crack. He ends up chipping a tame cross into the box, which Musacchio easily clears.
Bruno collects possession in the final third and looks to fizz a pass to the feet of Pereira, but his first touch wasn't good enough and the ball runs through to Diego Lopez. A good opportunity missed, that. He would have had a clear run at goal!
That's poor from Modric. Carvajal is screaming for a pass for a good 30 seconds out on the right wing and he is eventually spotted by the former Spurs man, but the pass wasn't great, and Villarreal get the throw in.
A change to report at half time as Coentrao has been replaced by Alvaro Arbeloa. The Portuguese must be injured as he was introduced as a substitute in the first half in place of Marcelo.
We are back under way in Madrid!
Mario's goal for Villarreal was the first Real Madrid have conceded at home in La Liga for 342 minutes. What a way to do it!
Half time in Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid were cruising at 25 minutes after latching on to two defensive lapses to go 2-0 up after goals from Bale and Benzema, but have been pegged back just before the break after a truly stunning strike from Mario. A supremely entertaining first half in the Spanish Capital! There's definitely more goals to come!
That's game on! Villarreal have improved massively in the last 15 minutes or so, and I doubt they want to hear the half time whistle here.
Assist J. Aquino
Goal Mario Gaspar
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLL FOR VILLARREAL! WHAT A SENSATIONAL STRIKE FROM MARIO! The Villarreal right-back takes the ball into his strike in the inside right channel before hitting a screamer into the top left corner! Diego Lopez no chance! 2-1!
That's wonderful work from Modric. The Croatian finds himself in a prickly situation with his back to goal at his own corner flag, but shows superb strength to fend off two challenges before bursting free and playing the ball inside.
Poor again from Dorado. The 31-year-old initially does well to drift past a couple of challenges in midfield, but his pass out to the left-hand side for Costa has far too much behind it, and Madrid get the throw in.
Modric switches the play out to Carvajal with a sensational diagonal pass and the former Leverkusen man takes a superb first touch, but just allows his second to get beyond him. In his efforts to retrieve the ball he just clips the heels of Moi Gomez.
A few half-chances for Villarreal in the final third so far, but the final product just hasn't been there. The shot, pass, or cross to end an attack just hasn't been up to their usual standard.
Poor from Moi Gomez. He gets into a promising position just in front of the Madrid defence on the edge of the box, but his half-volley ends up trickling through to the grateful Diego Lopez, who makes the save.
Di Maria is pulling out the party tricks here! Jese shows his electric pace down the left-hand side and backheels the ball to the Argentine, who crosses the ball into the box by flipping his foot round the back of his other foot! Just a shame there was nobody in the box...
It's been an odd opening 30 minutes in the Bernabeu. Villarreal have by no means played poorly but two lapses in concentration at the back have saw them severely punished. They still have plenty in their locker to get a goal here, however.
Ohhhhhh that's a horrible pass from Dos Santos! The Mexican had the opportunity to slide a ball through to Aquino, who more than likely would have had a shot at goal, but the pass was far too hard and he ends up sending his compatriot wide!
Baaaaaaaale! Unlucky! The former Tottenham man lets the ball come across his body on to his left foot and drills a peach of a strike towards goal. Either side of Asenjo and it was in, but it was central.
The first yellow card of the match goes to Villarreal. Dorado has two kicks out at the feet of Benzema and deservedly goes into the book. Not a promising opening 25 minutes from the defender!
Assist Gareth Bale
Goal Karim Benzema
GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLL FOR REAL MADRID!! The hosts double their lead! Bale skips past Jaume Costa down the right wing before smashing a cross to the front post for Benzema, who gets in front of his marker to direct the ball in off Asenjo! 2-0!
Such an open match here in the Spanish Capital. Looks like we'll get plenty of goals tonight!
Dos Santos whips in the corner and the ball comes to the feet of Musacchio, who lacks conviction with his strike, allowing Diego Lopez to come off his line to make the claim.
Moi Gomez! The winger shifts the ball on to his right foot on the edge of the box and hits a rasper of a strike towards goal. It takes a deflection on it's way through and Villarreal get the corner.
Mario shifts inside and finds space on the edge of the box to slip a pass to the feet of Pereira, but he his hounded and hunted by Madrid and, with two or three men around him, conceded possession.
Marcelo is very gingerly making his way towards the bench, with the physio appearing to be paying particular attention to the Brazilian's lower back. May not have been a groin problem after all.
Edu Ramos looks to test the gloves of Diego Lopez with a strike from 35 yards. The Villarreal man had plenty of space with nobody around him, so why not? A decent attempt, but the Madrid keeper makes a comfortable save.
Marcelo wont be able to continue, and he'll be replaced at left-back by Fabio Coentrao. The Portuguese had a pretty impressive game against Atletico Madrid during the week, so let's see if he can continue his good form.
Bale collects possession in a deep position at right back but does brilliantly to stretch out those long legs and burst out of the danger area. He brings the ball into midfield before shifting a pass inside to Modric.
Some worrying scenes for Madrid at the moment as it looks like Marcelo is struggling with an injury. The Brazilian is just having a problem with his groin after landing awkwardly. Watch this space.
Good strength from Moi Gomez as the 19-year-old shakes off the attentions of Carvajal to break inside and lay the ball to Bruno, who shifts the play out wide to Mario.
Decent period of possession for Villarreal inside the Madrid half at the moment. 10 or 11 passes around the final third until the ball comes to Aquino, who loses it with a poor touch.
Nearly for Jese. The 20-year-old peels off to the left-hand side and receives a pass from Modric before attempting to lash a cross along the six yard box. Asenjo is wise to it, though, and comes out to claim.
Well, where did that first ten minutes go?! The game is being played at an electric pace here at Santiago Bernabeu!
Modric!! What a block from Dorado! The Croatian's strike from just outside the six yard box is bravely blocked by the Villarreal defender! Much, much better from him!
Pereira!!! WHAT A MISS! Dos Santos reverses a superb pass into the Madrid box and the Villarreal striker has time to pick his spot for a shot on goal, but ends up ballooning a strike wayyyyy over the bar! A great chance passed up!
That was AWFUL defending from Dorado! Languishing in possession like that at the back is asking for trouble!
Goal Gareth Bale
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL FOR REAL MADRID! AND IT'S GARETH BALE ON HIS RETURN! The Welshman robs Dorado of possession at the back and bears down on goal before delightfully chipping the ball over the oncoming Asenjo! 1-0 Madrid!
Brilliant, brilliant work from Jese down the left-hand side! The Madrid man takes on Aquino and Mario before bursting inside and playing back to Modric.
The match is being played at a superb tempo in the opening stages. Let's hope it keeps up!
Such poor officiating from the linesman! Giovani dos Santos runs through on goal after a pass from Aquino only for the play to be brought back for offside. The Mexican was a yard on!
That's wild from Di Maria! The Argentine exchanges a quick one-two with Carvajal from a corner and takes the ball to the edge of the area, but his eventual shot goes high into the stand!
We are under way in the Spanish capital!
Uche has scored 7 of Villarreal's last 11 league away goals, so the Nigerian will certainly be sorely missed!
Villarreal have denied Madrid wins in their last two meetings, drawing 1-1 in March 2012 thanks to an 83rd-minute Marcos Senna goal before Giovani dos Santos earned his side a 2-2 draw earlier this season with a goal 20 minutes from time.
A blow to the Yellow Submarine tonight is the absence of top goalscorer, Kalu Uche, who misses out due to injury.
In the corresponding fixture earlier in the season at El Madrigal, Gareth Bale netted in his debut in a 2-2 draw.
Marcelino Garcia Toral's men currently sit just three points behind Athletic Bilbao in the final Champions League space in La Liga.
Villarreal have been performing above expectations in their return season in La Liga after being demoted to the Segunda a couple of campaigns ago.
A great opportunity for Real Madrid to prove tonight that they are not a one-man team!
It looks like a 4-3-3 again for the hosts, with Illarra sitting and Angel Di Maria and Luka Modric making runs from midfield. Bale, Karim Benzema, and Jese make up the front three.
Another significant change for Madrid tonight is the introduction of Asier Illarramendi in midfield in place of Xabi Alonso, who is rested.
However, Carlo Ancelotti's men will be boosted by the return of Gareth Bale from injury, who replaces the former Manchester United man in attack.
The Portuguese is starting his three-match suspension after being sent off in Madrid's 1-1 away draw against Athletic last Sunday, in which he was involved in an altercation with Carlos Gurpegui.
As I'm sure everyone will know, Ballon d'Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, misses out for Los Blancos this evening.
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Diego Lopez; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Illarramendi, Modric, Di Maria; Bale, Benzema, Jese.
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be reporting on the action!
Good evening folks! Welcome to LIVE coverage of the Spanish Primera Division clash between Real Madrid and Villarreal from Santiago Bernabeu!
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