Real Madrid go top of the league as 10-men Barcelona only manage to draw at Almeria. Coming from two goals down, Madrid’s resilience powers them through in a dramatic match at the Bernabeu which saw Rafael Van Der Vaart score an injury-time goal to sink Sevilla.
Real Madrid stepped inside the Santiago Bernabeu with the knowledge that a win can take them to the top of the league as Barcelona had drawn their away game at Almeria. The news about the Catalans was proving to be a baggage too heavy for Madrid, and it took a Xabi Alonso own-goal in the 10th minute to wake them up from their slumber. It was an attack inspired by Jesus Navas, and when the ball was crossed from the left by Diego Capel for Alvaro Negredo, the unfortunate Alonso only managed to turn the ball into his own goal. Hereafter, Madrid began to exert more control on the game, but were unable to equalize despite having majority of ball possession.
In the second half, against the run of play, Sevilla doubled their lead courtesy a Dragutinovic free-kick. The defender’s long range effort was too good for Iker Casillas. The Madrid stopper has not been in the best of forms, and this goal just emphasized that fact. The seventy thousand Madridistas were silenced, and Madrid’s 100% home record was in danger. What followed after this cleared all doubts about Real Madrid’s potential as a team.
If ever Ronaldo was expected to justify his eighty million price-tag, it was now and he did not disappoint. CR9 received a deflected ball and slotted it at the back of the net with a perfect finish. He picked up the ball after scoring and placed the ball at the center. ‘Urgency’ was the message he wished to convey, and it inspired his team-mates. Madrid were back on level terms when Sergio Ramos headed home a corner just after the hour mark.
With Madrid desperate for a win to take them top of La Liga, the away team had to withstand a lot of pressure in their own half. The home side came excruciatingly close on at least three occasions. Twice when Gonzalo Higuain’s shot struck against the bar and then the post and once when Ronaldo’s goal bound shot unfortunately hit Raul, and not the Sevilla net.
The visitors were counting down the seconds when calamity struck in injury-time, the effects of which were felt all the way to Catalunia. Higuain’s shot was parried by Andres Palop, only to find the feet of Van Der Vaart, whose touch ensured that the costliest team ever assembled on planet Earth deservingly claimed top spot in the league.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
TheHardTackle’s REFEREE REPORT CARD
Name: Gonzalez E I
Grade: B (Decent)
REAL MADRID 3-2 SEVILLA
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Real Madrid Line-up: Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa (Rafael van der Vaart, 55), Sergio Ramos, Junior Marcelo, Raul Albiol, Ezequiel Garay, Ricardo Kaka (Gonzalez Raul, 75), Cristiano Ronaldo, Lassana Diarra, L (Jose Maria Guti, 55), Xabi Alonso, Gonzalo Higuain
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Caution: Garay, Arbeloa, Marcelo, Van Der Vaart
Scorers: Ronaldo (60’), Ramos (64’), Van Der Vaart (90’)
Sevilla Line-up: Andres Palop, Frederico Julian Fazio, Ivica Dragutinovic, Marius Stankevicius, Fernando Navarro, Abdoulay Konko (Correia Adriano, 21), Jesus Navas, Didier Zokora, Trinidad Diego Capel (Freddie Kanoute, 46), Alvaro Sanchez Negredo (Aldo Duscher, 75), Diego Perotti
Manager: Manolo Jimenez
Caution: Dragutinovic, Diego Capel, Kanoute
Scorers: Alonso (OG 10’),Dragutinovic (52’)