A stuttering second half display from Real Madrid nearly costs them dear after a sensational first half display which put them 2-0 in front. Madrid were exceptional in the first half giving Racing a lesson on one and two touch passing, they couldn’t get near them. Neat triangles involving: Ozil, Di Maria, Benzema, Adebayor, Granero and Alonso were running rings around Racing. However, in the second half Madrid nearly rued the missed chances from the first half.
Madrid’s dominance on the game was from the start, Benzema was unlucky at the back post when he hit over when under pressure from the keeper on 3 minutes. Madrid were on top and kept missing chances when Di Maria blazed over from just outside penalty area, Alonso hit the bar with a freekick and Di Maria shot straight at the keeper. Madrid should have been 1-0 up on 14 minutes, an exceptional through ball from Ozil got Marcelo in behind the right back, he sided stepped the goalkeeper so all he had to do was slide the ball into the empty neat. But somehow he managed to screw his shot wide of an open goal, Mourinho wondering how the hell did he miss that. The only chance that Racing had was when Casillas got his bearings all wrong when Rosenberg shot but it was going well wide but Casillas decides to save the shot which could have gone anywhere.
Madrid supremacy was finally rewarded in a 4 minutes period mid way through the first half. The first goal was a great one touch passing masterclass, great play between Di Maria, Ozil, Benzema and Adebayor got Ozil in behind the defense. He had the awareness and vision to square the ball to a waiting Adebayor who slotted the ball into an empty net. A goal worthy of gracing any match, who said Madrid don’t play pretty football. Madrid made the game comfortable with a second, Ozil made the goal. Ozil picked the ball up in the middle of Racing’s half, ran towards the penalty area, Benzema made a run of the left flank where Ozil found him with a delightful through ball. Benzema controlled well and coolly slotted home to make it 2-0. Madrid could even afford to hit the crossbar again after a brilliant cross field ball from Alonso which set up Benzema, who controlled the ball excellently and smashed the ball left footed against the cross bar with the keeper beaten. Racing first real chance came on 45 minutes great play from the Spurs loanee, Dos Santos who combined with Kennedy, he crossed but Kennedy could only head high over the bar.
Real played very very well in the first half and without Ronaldo who looks like he will be out for between 10-15 days, Real need to get on with playing as they cannot rely on Ronaldo.
Real came out in the second half a different team, their passing was sluggish and the players looked like they had already won the game. Racing were doing all of the passing using one touch to get them in positions to score. Racing pressure gave them an opportunity on 53 minutes, Dos Santos cut in from the right into the penalty area, a clumsy challenge from Alonso won the penalty from Racing. Pinillos tamely hit the ball straight to Casillas dive where he saved and set up a counter attack. Racing’s major chance was blown, they would have been right back in the game.
Real didn’t wake up and were forced to on 70 minutes, again great one touch passing in the midfield set up Kennedy who moved the ball on to his left foot where he slid the ball in the corner to make it 2-1 and force Madrid to start playing. It didn’t take long for Madrid to have a 2 goal lead again, 5 minutes. Di Maria broke through the center with the options either side of him in Benzema and Adebayor. He chose Benzema who had peeled off into space on the left who had one touch and then curled the ball over the keeper and into the bottom corner to dampen Racing’s chances of getting a point out of the game. It could have been 4, on 83 minutes, Di Maria danced his way into the box where a defender left his leg out causing Di Maria to loose his balance. Without Ronaldo in the team, Adebayor stepped up but again the penalty was easily saved by the keeper showing the void which is left when Ronaldo is not in the team.
3-1 was the final score but it really should have been 6 or 7, Madrid had the chances in front of goal showing that they are not as clinical without Ronaldo as with Ronaldo. Ronaldo is a very key player for Madrid, no knowing what the score would have been if Ronaldo was playing but it would have been more. Real manage to win without Ronaldo but will need to give a whole performance next match otherwise they may be disappointed with the result. They took their foot off of the pedal which allowed Racing to get back into the game. If they were playing a better opposition, Real would have been punished.
Barcelona cruised past Zaragoza on Saturday whist resting key players in Villa, Busquets, Inisesta and Abidal they managed to win but with Puyol and Pique missing the game with Arsenal on Tuesday will they be able to rescue the deficit? Barca are missing both regular center halves which could cause them concern with Busquets and Abidal looking favorite to play their so will Arsenal be able to take advantage of the void left by Puyol and Pique, we will have to wait and see.
Next up: Real Madrid vs Hercules – Saturday 19:00 Sky Sports Barcelona vs Arsenal – Tuesday 19:45 Sky Sports