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Deportivo La Coruña
December 22, 2013
• Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
Referee: Fernando Teixeira Vitienes
• Attendance: 40000
P. Piatti 34'
J. Mathieu 62'
Á. di María 28'
Cristiano Ronaldo 40'
And with that the Liga action for 2013 is over. Los Blancos head into the New Year still very much in the title race but have a five point deficit to overcome from January onwards. For now, though, I've been Tom Maston and thanks for joining me.
The referee blows the full-time whistle and Real Madrid have Jese to thank as they keep apace with La Liga leaders Barcelona and Atletico. Valencia gave a decent account of themselves but Guaita's error cost them a point.
90' + 3'
The pressure is relieved somewhat as Ronaldo sees a curling effort deflected wide. That maybe that for the hosts.
90' + 2'
Into the final 60 seconds but Valencia just cannot get a decent sight of goal as they chase a third equaliser.
Valencia will have three minutes of stoppage time to find an equaliser. Not many would begrudge them it given their performance.
Better play from Valencia leads to Feghouli crossing in from the right, and though Jonas wins the header, Lopez can catch easily above his head.
Ángel Di María
Ancelotti makes his final substitution as the man who broke the deadlock, Di Maria, is replaced by Illarrmendi.
All of a sudden the visitors look comfortable and their natural passing game has returned. Valencia are going to have to throw everything at this one now.
Valencia make their third and final change as Banega replaces Parejo in midfield.
GOAL!!! Finally the goal comes for Real Madrid, and Guiata agains fails to cover himself in glory. Modric passes it Jese on the right hand side of the area, and with the goalkeeper slightly off his line, the substitute manages to fire in at the near post.
Guaita almost gifts the visitors a winner as he comes off limits and mistimes his punch. Jese has an opportunity but Mathieu blocks well.
Changes for both sides as Arbeloa is replaced by Carvajal while the impressive Piatti comes off for Guardado.
Time is beginning to run out for the visitors as they search for a winner. They have failed to test Guaita in the second half and are struggling to create anything in the final third.
Jonas' chances have been scarce this evening, but he has a half-chance as he fires an effort from a tight angle across goal and out for a goal kick.
Canales has certainly looked up for this one since coming on and he has his first effort of the game with a low shot from distance. Lopez is equal to it though as gets down well to his left.
Real make their first change as the quiet Isco is replaced by Jese.
Ronaldo is caught offside as he shoots over, but Mathieu is slightly lucky to avoid a second yellow card as he fouls Modric in the build-up. The defender needs to be careful.
Valencia are certainly having the better of things at present and Ancelotti's side are having to show some resilience. We are into the final quarter as both sides chase a winning goal.
LUCKY ESCAPE! Diego Lopez has looked shaky in the last few minutes and he is fortunate to get away with a handling error as Pereira strikes an effort from the edge of the area. The goalkeeper drops the shot and recovers just in time as Jonas closes in.
Canales is causing problems already against his former side and his trickery forces Arbeloa into a foul. The ex-Liverpool full-back is rightly booked.
GOAL!!! The home side have equalised again and it's another header, this time from Mathieu. A corner is delivered from the right, and with Lopez caught in two minds, the French defender flicks in from close range.
Federico Nicolás Cartabia
The first change of the evening is made as Fede is replaced by Canales in midfield.
Some concern here for Alonso after he is caught by Mathieu while challenging for a header. The stretcher is originally brought on but he is back on his feet and should be able to continue.
Yellow CardJérémy Mathieu
Another booking for the home side as Mathieu needlessly challenges Isco and is rightly given a yellow card.
Benzema has barely had a sight of goal today but he almost has his goal as Ronaldo and Marcelo combine to hand the striker a chance. He cannot get his effort from the edge of the box on target though as it flashes just wide.
Yellow CardPablo Piatti
Valencia pick up their first booking as Piatti is late on Ronaldo. No complaints from the goalscorer.
Piatti has been excellent and he again puts in a superb searching cross that Feghouli is so close to getting on the end of. Fair play to Marcelo who does enough to put the midfielder off at the back post.
The first shot of the second period comes from Fede as he cuts onto his left foot but his shot from 30 yards is always too high and Lopez can watch it fly over his crossbar.
Mathieu has had a good game in the Valencia defence but he is fortunate to get away with losing the ball on the halfway line. Di Maria's pass for Benzema is a poor one and the hosts can clear.
Los Blancos have begun the second half in a similar fashion to how they ended the first with some patient build-up play. Modric shows his talent with an excellent through ball for Marcelo but the left-back's cross is behind Ronaldo.
The visitors kick-off and we are back underway at the Mestalla.
The two teams are making their way back out onto the field as the second half approaches. Can Valencia fight back again or will Real Madrid pull away? We shall wait and see...
Valencia have certainly grown into the match as it has gone on and are by no means out of it despite being behind at the break. Goalscorer Piatti is proving a threat while Jonas has had his moments. I'll be back in ten minutes to see if they can inspire a comeback for the hosts.
No stoppage time and the referee blows the half-time whistle. The match came to life midway through the opening period, with Ronaldo's goal separating the two teams.
Valencia have certainly grown in confidence and Piatti ia again at the centre of things as he looks to find Jonas in the box. The striker does control the pass but Alonso is alive to the danger and makes a crucial challenge.
SO CLOSE! Almost a second equaliser for the home side as Jonas turns Nacho before firing in an effort from a tight angle on the right. Despite this, his shot beats Lopez and is a whisker away from the far post.
Yellow CardNacho Fernández
The first booking of the evening is given to Nacho as he barges over Fede inside the Real Madrid half. Maybe a bit harsh given some of the other challenges we have seen in the first half.
AssistÁngel Di María
GOAL!!! You cannot keep Ronaldo out of the game! Real win a free-kick on the right and Di Maria swings in a delightful cross that the unmarked Ronaldo heads past Guaita for his 27th La Liga goal of the season.
Di Maria is certainly causing problems in the attacking third, and he has Guaita scrambling after spotting the goalkeeper off his line. The Argentina winger tries to curl the ball in from 35 yards but Guaita just gets back to tip it over the top.
All of a sudden Bernat has come alive from left-back, and he almost puts the home side in the lead after robbing Di Maria inside his own half. He then runs around 50 yards before slicing his effort wide from just outside the area. Much better from the hosts.
GOAL!!! From nowhere, Valencia are level through Piatti. The playmaker ghosts into the area to meet Bernat's cross from the left and nod past Lopez in the visitors' goal. Game on at the Mestalla.
Ronaldo has certainly not been at his best this evening and he wastes another chance as his pass for Benzema is a poor one from the edge of the box.
Valencia look for an instant response as Piatti crosses from the left, but Lopez does well to punch away with Jonas ready to pounce on any opportunity that comes his way.
GoalÁngel Di María
The visitors are looking to be more patient in their build-up and try and wear their opponents down. At present their search for the killer pass is not troubling the Valencia defence.
Some words have been exchanged between Jonas and Ramos after the striker went down clutching his face in an aerial challenge with the Real skipper. Seemed a slight overreaction and the referee rightly waves play on.
More frustration as first Ronaldo and then Arbeloa surrender possession in decent positions before Isco concedes a free-kick to relieve some of the pressure on the home defence.
A first sight of goal for Valencia as Parejo works some space on the edge of the area before firing over the top from 20 yards. Better from the home side.
Finally Ronaldo comes alive as Valencia lose the ball in midfield. The Portugal skipper glides into the box but drags his shot well wide of the far post. A let-off for the hosts.
Real win a corner but cannot capitalise as Mathieu wins a key header in front of Ramos inside the six-yard box.
Isco comes alive for the first time as he feeds Marcelo on the left-hand side, but the full-back cannot beat Pereira and the opportunity is gone.
Ronaldo finds some space midway inside the Valencia half, but despite some trickery his pass is wayward and behind Arbeloa as he breaks forward. Not quite happening for the visitors.
Plenty of huffing and puffing from Ancelotti's side at present but the Valencia backline is keeping things tight. Benzema has had very little to feed off thus far.
The visitors are starting to show some attacking potency as a ball over the top finds Benzema. The France striker does well to square the ball across the six-yard box but there is no one there to supply a finish.
The home side's frustrations are already starting to show as Piatti kicks out at Arbeloa after the right-back sees the ball out for a goal kick. The officials could be in for a busy night.
Valencia have struggled to get into the game as yet, and Romeu is lucky to escape a booking after going in heavily on Di Maria. The midfielder can probably be thankful that foul came so early in the match.
Real Madrid have begun in a positive fashion, keeping the ball well and passing it around in midfield. Alonso and Ramos were heavily involved, but no real attacking threat as yet.
Valencia kick-off and we are off and running...
The two sides are now ready and we are all set for kick-off at the Mestalla...
The two sides have made their way out onto the field and are going through the pre-match handshakes. Not long now until we are underway.
There is a full house at the Mestalla, as there always is when Real Madrid are in town, and the home fans will be hoping for a change in fortunes for their side after the departure of Djukic. The side may well need a win here to give them a boost ahead of the two week break.
Tonight marks the final match of an incredible 2013 for Cristiano Ronaldo, and with 33 goals for club and country already this season, the Balon D'Or favourite will be looking to end the year with a bang. It would take a brave man to bet against him getting on the scoresheet again this evening.
There are just over ten minutes until kick-off in the Mestalla as Real Madrid look to continue an unbeaten run of ten matches against Valencia. They are certainly the favourites to close the gap at the top of the Liga table, though a change in manager may have a positive effect on the home side.
Despite Sergio Ramos' red card against Osasuna being rescinded, Ancelotti has some defensive headaches with Raphael Varane injured and Pepe suspended. That means Nacho starts at the heart of the defence. Gareth Bale is ruled out with an injury.
Real Madrid: Diego Lopez; Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Modric; Di Maria, Isco, Ronaldo; Benzema.
Valencia: Guaita; Joao, Ruiz, Mathieu, Bernat; Romeu, Parejo; Feghouli, Fede, Piatti; Jonas.
Before we go any further, the two team line-ups are in ahead of kick-off...
If Real aren't fully satisified with their season to date, then Valencia will be almost traumatised with theirs. They are currently 11th in La Liga and parted company with coach Miroslav Djukic last week. Youth coach Nico Estevez has been placed in temporary charge as they look to get their push for a European place back on track.
Ancelotti's side head into tonight's encounter eight points behind champions Barcelona and city rivals Atletico, and know that nothing less than a win this evening will do if they are to stay in the title race. A 2-2 draw against Osasuna last time out was a major disappointment, and the side from the capital will be hopeful of getting back to winning ways.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Real Madrid's visit to Valencia in the final round of La Liga fixtures of 2013. Carlo Ancelotti's team cannot afford anymore slip-ups in their pursuit of the Spanish title, and though visits to the Mestalla are never easy, Los Blancos have as good a record as any visiting side there. I'm Tom Maston and I'll be seeing whether they can make it five league wins in a row at the home of Los Che.
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