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Deportivo La Coruña
March 21, 2012
• Camp El Madrigal, Villarreal
Referee: José Luis Paradas Romero
• Attendance: 21000
Cristiano Ronaldo 62'
So is the title race still on? It would appear that way. Madrid are now only six points clear of Barcelona and with a trip to Camp Nou still to come, who knows where the title will end up. Big point for Villarreal too tonight under their new coach. That's it from me tonight. Hope you enjoyed that one! Buenas Noches.
FULL-TIME! ALL OVER HERE! Nine-men Madrid have to settle for a point as Villarreal come back late on through Senna's free-kick.
90' + 5'
Yellow CardGonzalo Higuaín
90' + 2'
Madrid are searching for the winner but are struggling to threaten with nine men. Will Villarreal hold on for the point?
Madrid are still looking dangerous in the late stages of the game. An amazing end to proceedings here.
Yellow CardSami Khedira
Red CardMesut Özil
OZIL IS NOW SENT OFF! The German midfielder is given his marching orders for what appeared to be dissent towards the referee.
RAMOS IS OFF! The centre-half follows through on Nilmar with his elbow and earns a second yellow!
Mourinho has been sent to the stands after sarcastically applauding the referee. It's all kicking off here!
GOAL VILLARREAL! WOW! Senna lines up a free-kick from the edge of the box and curls it into the bottom corner of the net! The wall certainly did not do their job there.
Villarreal have offered very little in this second-half despite looking positive before the break. We are into the last 10 minutes as the home team search for an equaliser.
Yellow CardJonathan De Guzmán
Benzema, who has looked poor this evening, is replaced by Higuain who will be looking to add to his 21 strikes this season.
After some clever play by Senna, Camunas launches an inviting ball into the penalty area which is headed to safety by Pepe.
De Guzman found himself in a great position on the right-side of the box yet the Canadian-born midfielder failed to pick out any of his team-mates in the box. Poor from the former Mallorca man.
Villarreal are yet to really respond to going that goal down and are currently having to repel wave after wave of Madrid attacks. Do they Yellow Submarine have anything left in their locker?
Benzema lays the ball back to Xabi Alonso who smashes it way over the bar from 20 yards out.
The visitors are really gunning for Villarreal now as Khedira has his effort blocked on the line by a defender. Surely Madrid will score another if they keep up this intensity.
Los Blancos appear to be in the ascendancy now as they look to extend their narrow lead. Just before the goal, Villarreal took off Ruben in favour for De Guzman and brought Camunas on for Cani. Will Molina regret taking off a striker?
Where does that goal leave Villarreal who had done so well to be level heading into the final half hour of the game. Madrid will surely be buoyed by that brilliant goal.
GOAL MADRID! Wonderful run from Ronaldo who plays a one-two with Ozil, the German back-heeling the ball back into the former Manchester United man's path who side-steps the keeper before knocking it into the net. Great goal and very much needed for the away side.
Jonathan De Guzmán
Relief from Lopez who backtracks as Xabi Alonso's long-range effort drifts over the bar. Looks like De Guzman is coming on for the home side.
Marcelo's superb turn on the edge of the box sees the ball deflected into the path of Khedira who drags his shot narrowly wide from the edge of the penalty area.
Remember, Madrid still have Kaka and Higuain on the bench but after bringing on Callejon and then having to replace the substitute with Altintop, only one of the superstars can come on. Question is, which one?
Ronaldo, who has been very quiet tonight, drives an effort from distance at goal but the ball bobbles harmlessly wide.
Yellow CardMarco Ruben
Lucky for Villarreal as Musacchio's slip nearly allows Ronaldo and Benzema to charge through on goal. However a free-kick is given to the home team.
Yellow CardSergio Ramos
Unsure start to the second period for Madrid who aren't exactly looking full of confidence at the moment. Maybe the weekend's draw against Malaga is affecting Mourinho's team?
Delay in proceedings here as there seems to be some commotion on the sidelines. Looks like one of Madrid's backroom staff has been sent to the stands. Not sure entirely why.
Senna's free-kick into the box takes a slight deflection as Casillas is forced to punch the ball clear. Cani attempts an audacious volley 30 metres out but it's high, wide and not so handsome.
We are back underway here in the second-half at El Madrigal. Who, if any side, will emerge victorious tonight? We will find out in the next 45 minutes or so. Callejon must have picked up a knock as Altintop is on.
HALF-TIME at El Madrigal and it's 0-0 here. Villarreal have had their fair share of chances as Madrid have had to settle for creating opportunities from set-pieces. The home faithful will also be disappointed not to have won a penalty after Arbeloa was tugging on Nilmar's shirt in the box. This game is still all to play for so make sure you join us again in 15 minutes!
45' + 1'
Arbeloa looks to find Ronaldo in the box with a searching cross yet Zapata does brilliantly to head clear. Villarreal have been very impressive so far.
Marcelo slides the ball into Benzema who could only smash his effort into the side netting from a tight angle.
Just under five minutes left of the first-half and it looks like we are heading into the break all square.
Yellow CardXabi Alonso
Bruno delivers the ball into the box from a deep position as Ruben attempts to flick a header at goal. The Argentine makes contact but can only watch on as the ball drifts wide. Bit ambitious that.
Xabi Alonso's free-kick is met by the unmarked Pepe at the back-post yet the centre-half heads the ball straight at the keeper. He really should have made it 1-0.
Yellow CardMario Gaspar
Ronaldo takes a free-kick from just outside the box but it's straight at the keeper. Coincidentally, the Portuguese attacker has not scored a free-kick in the league since scoring at El Madrigal last season.
Villarreal feel they should have a penalty. Senna's corner is aimed towards Neymar who hits the ball wide after slipping. However, replays show Arbeloa was tugging the striker's shirt for a few seconds. The former Liverpool full-back is very lucky to not give a penalty away there.
Benzema gets his head to Xabi Alonso's free-kick yet it's straight down the throat of Lopez who catches the ball with relative ease.
And it is Diarra who makes away from Mourinho's favourite super sub. Surely that will mean Madrid will revert to their traditional 4-2-3-1.
Looks like Callejon is going to be introduced soon with Diarra the likely player to make way. Mourinho obviously doesn't fancy risking the Frenchman who is already on a yellow card.
Cani cuts the ball back and Senna is running full pace towards the edge of the box. The former Spain international blasts the ball at goal and is only a yard out from testing Casillas with his powerful effort.
Senna delivers a corner into the Madrid box but Pepe does very well to beat Zapata in the air to cut out the danger for the away side. Lots of set-pieces so far tonight.
Ozil's free-kick into the box is dealt with poorly by Lopez who lets the ball go through his hands and out for a corner.
Very entertaining 21 minutes so far and it's difficult to see why Villarreal have been struggling so badly of late. At the moment they are very much in this game.
Yellow CardMarcos Senna
NILMAR COMES CLOSE! Mario's long ball forward looks to be under the control of Ramos yet the Spain international is robbed on the edge of the box by Nilmar who sees his shot well-blocked by Casillas who is alert out of his goal once again.
Lots of efforts at goal so far in the game as Marcelo lines one up 20 metres from goal. However it's a pretty poor shot as he blasts it over the bar.
Nice effort from Cani who drifts into the hole before unleashing a powerful low drive from 25 metres out. He fails to hit the target but only by a yard or two. Casillas was certainly at full-stretch there.
Ozil whips an enticing set-piece into the danger area but Ramos can only head over the bar despite Lopez committing himself out of his goal. Should have done better there.
Ozil gets forward and shoots from the edge of the box yet it's fairly weak as Lopez holds onto the ball.
Nilmar shows some excellent skill to beat Ramos before making his way into the penalty area. However, Pepe reads the situation and emerges out of the box victorious, cleanly winning the ball off the Brazilian.
GOOD GOALKEEPING FROM CASILLAS! Senna's excellent through ball is nearly met by Ruben yet the Spain No.1 is alert and sprints out of his goal to smother the ball.
SO CLOSE FOR LOS BLANCOS! Xabi Alonso's free-kick is met by Pepe's header at the back-post yet Zapata somehow manages to use his body to deflect the ball over the bar for a corner.
Madrid have a free-kick in a dangerous area as Arbeloa is brought down by Oriol. Xabi Alonso and Ozil are standing over the ball...
Villarreal are now seeing more of the ball and are bossing the midfield in the early stages of the match, despite Mourinho deploying three central midfielders for this game.
Senna's corner is met by Zapata's header yet Ruben is unable to flick the ball on at the far post with it drifting wide for a goalkick to Madrid.
Yellow CardLassana Diarra
Bright start so far as Diarra earns the first booking off the game for a high challenge on Senna in the centre of the field. Bit dangerous for a combative player like Lass to be picking up a yellow card so early.
We are only two minutes into the game and Ronaldo has already had his first shot at goal, shooting wide from range. The visitors look really up for this one in the early stages of the game.
We are underway here at El Madrigal and as usual, there's an impressive atmosphere here. Villarreal are in all yellow while Madrid play in their traditional all white.
Remember, you can let me know your thoughts and opinions on the game on Twitter @LukasMaf. What do you folks think of Kaka being named amongst the substitutes?
So the interesting team news in regards to Los Blancos is the exclusion of the in-form Kaka who has to make do with a place on the bench. There seems to be a tactical reshuffle for Mourinho's side with the visitors due play in a 4-3-3 formation. Looks like the Portuguese coach is showing Villarreal a little respect tonight, despite their lowly 17th position in the table.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Diarra, Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Ozil, Benzema, Ronaldo
Villarreal (4-4-2): Lopez; Angel, Zapata, Musacchio, Oriol; Mario, Senna, Bruno, Cani; Ruben, Nilmar
Here come the teams...
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of Villarreal versus Real Madrid at El Madrigal. I'm Luke Matthews and I'll be guiding you through tonight's action. Jose Mourinho will be hoping his men can restore their eight-point lead at the top of La Liga with a win tonight while Miguel Angel Lotina will be preying he can avoid defeat in his opening game in charge of the Yellow Submarine.
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