Jose Mourinho's side claim three vital points in Zaragoza with 3-1 victory...
Real Madrid have propelled to top of La Liga for the time being at least thanks to an efficient victory against Real Zaragoza. Goals from Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel di Maria contributed to their 3-1 success.
It was the home side who asked the early questions as they pressed Real Madrid all over the pitch. Their tenacity and will to fight was exemplary. They had the early chances and Nicolas Bertolo looked to latch on a beautifully flighted cross but his header was well blocked by Alvaro Arbeloa who came in for the injured Sergio Ramos.
Nicolas Bertolo and Angel Lafita played some wonderful intricate football in the opening ten minutes and their link up play was excellent. Unfortunately for the home team it didn’t last too long as Madrid began to impose themselves on the game. They weathered the early storm and it was they who began to link up and gain momentum.
Lassana Diarra, who came in for Sami Khedira, proved that shooting wasn’t exactly his best attribute as he shot high and wide following some beautiful footwork from Cristiano Ronaldo who weaved his way past four players to work open the space for the Frenchman to shoot from distance.
The game was becoming rather scrappy in the middle up until Mesut Ozil found the opening goal on 14 minutes. Ronaldo with a diligent little flick to Marcelo saw the Brazilian left-back gallop through the middle before sweeping a delightful ball across the turf into the path of the German who was in acres of space and produced a composed finish to slide the ball past Leo Franco. It was a beautifully flowing move.
The Whites began to settle and very nearly made it two as Karim Benzema found himself bearing down on goal but was unable to get his shot away due to heavy pressure from two Zaragoza defenders. This seemed to anger Jose Mourinho on the bench who probably felt the Frenchman should have been more decisive. Nevertheless the ball from Angel di Maria over the top to seek the opportunity was ever so creative. The Argentine seemed to pick his spot and the weight of the pass was exceptional.
The home team couldn’t really find their early form where they had Madrid worried but Lafite did produce a top draw save from Iker Casillas as he spun Ricardo Carvalho outside the box and produced a well hit shot that was palmed away by Casillas. Great reflexes from the Spanish international.
Madrid then made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time thanks to a piece of genius from that man Ronaldo again. The Portuguese superstar proved his efficiency from set-pieces again as he smashed the valve on the ball from just outside the eighteen yard box and saw it dip into Franco’s goal. The Argentina was left flat footed and didn’t even attempt to make the save. In his defence the wall constructed by Zaragoza disintegrated before the ball left Ronaldo’s foot.
The Zaragoza fans had hardly got back into their seats when Angel di Maria made it 3-0 a minute into the second period following a cracking ball over the top from Xabi Alonso. The Argentinean showed a tremendous burst of pace which stripped Juri Jarosik and Maurizio Lanzaro bare before he looped the ball over Franco. It was a tidy finish and that looked to have killed the game off but Ricardo Carvalho clumsily brought down Bertolo on 53 minutes which resulted in a penalty and was subsequently dispatched by Gabi.
The Blanquillos showed more heart following their goal as they battled over the pitch but always looked vulnerable when Madrid oozed forward.
Madrid carved open a number of chances but were unable to capitalise on their two goal lead. Nevertheless The Whites held on and now behold top spot for the time being at least as rivals Barcelona gear for a home fixture against Real Sociedad later on.