Deportivo La Coruna 1-3 Real Madrid: Granero And Benzema Break Riazor Jinx

Los Merengues hadn't won at the venue for 18 years...
Deportivo La Coruna 1-3 Real Madrid - Lineups/Stats
La Liga - Fixtures/Results

Real Madrid won their first game at the Riazor in 18 years, thanks to goals from Esteban Granero and Karim Benzema.
Both sides were missing key players for this game, with Depor playing their first league game since Filipe Luis' horrific injury, while Real Madrid, who gave Guti, Raul and Benzema a start, had Cristiano Ronaldo suspended and Gonzalo Higuain injured.

Los Merengues were looking to break their jinx at the Riazor, and they had the better of the opening exchanges, with Xabi Alonso testing Daniel Aranzubia from range. They did not have to wait long for the opener, as on 13 minutes, Granero found himself on the end of a misplaced header by Alberto Lopo, and duly nodded past the keeper.

It was a dream start for Madrid, and they should have gone ahead minutes later, when Benzema's ball across the box found no takers. Then, Raul missed an absolute sitter, hitting Marcelo's cross straight at Aranzubia with absolutely no pressure on him.

The visitors were all over their beleaguered hosts, and Benzema wasted another chance by blazing over the bar after Kaka had set him up. However, five minutes before half-time, the Frenchman got his goal, after a rapid counter attack ended with Guti backheeling the ball into Benzema's path when through on goal, leaving an empty net for him to slot into.

That proved to be the last action of the first half, as Real Madrid looked on course for their first win at the Riazor in 18 years.

Los Merengues continued to dominate from the start of the second half, with Kaka shooting straight at Aranzubia after being released by Xabi Alonso,  just after the break. Marcelo then played a ball through for his compatriot, but this time the midfielder's shot grazed the post.

Just before the hour mark, Miguel Angel Lotina withdrew Juan Valeron, replacing him with Ivan Perez. Juan Rodriguez then came close for the home side, with an ambitious long range effort that surprised everyone with its proximity to the goal. He was in the thick of it soon after, with another shot that had Casillas sprawling, after taking a deflection off Sergio Ramos.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Pablo Alvarez was taken off, to be replaced by Riki, but the hosts were still struggling to create any sort of opportunities, with Madrid content to focus on keeping them out. To that end, Raul was withdrawn for Royston Drenthe. Riki soon had a great chance with a header, but he nodded wide from six yards out.

Depor looked down and out during the last ten minutes, but Adrian came within inches of giving them some hope, when he cut inside from the left only to fire marginally wide. Rodolfo Bodipo then ran on for Juca, in a desperate attempt to salvage something from this game.

With just five minutes left, there was a moment of drama as Riki ran into Sergio Ramos in the box and fell to the floor, earning a dubious penalty in the process. He lifted himself up and duly fired into the bottom right hand corner, ensuring a nervous end to the match for the visitors.

There was to be another goal, but it came for the visitors right at the death, when Alvaro Arbeloa squared the ball to Benzema, who made no mistake in slotting into the bottom corner. Thus Madrid claimed their first win at the Riazor in 18 years, keeping the gap at the top to five points.