08 August 2008
Cristina Monge (Bogota, Colombia) / Translation by Matthew Goltz
After a lackluster first half in El Campín in Bogota, Real Madrid staged an impressive turnaround off the boots of new kid on the block, Rafael van der Vaart. The Dutchman scored in his Madridista debut and provided the game-winning assist, a goal netted by Pepe, who also made his first appearance of the preseason.
Bernd Schuster again relied on a combination of youth and experience so characteristic of the preseason. Dudek returned in goal and was protected by the same defensive four who played in Austria and London: Salgado, Javi García, Heinze, and Miguel Torres. Diarra, Guti, Baptista, and Robinho got the start in midfield and were led in attack by Raúl and Van Nistelrooy.
Real Madrid had early trouble completing their passes, which resulted in one counter attack after another for Independiente. Heinze and Javi García were forced into heavy action and called upon to thwart offensives by Nécuiman (min.16 and min.33 ) and Valoyes (min.25). Robinho was the only Madridista to really test the Colombian keeper after a series of stepovers to lose his marker and a shot cleared by Agustín Julio (min.15).
A hard tackle on Guti on 21 minutes resulted in a small scuffle and the ensuing sending off of Míchel Salgado. The match got more complicated than expected for the Madridistas, who couldn't find their touch. As a consequence, the hosts struck gold when Alejandro Bernal found Seijas, who beat Dudek with a tight shot along the keeper's left post. A poor display of football by Schuster's men, who also had fatigue and jetlag to deal with.
Three substitutions opened the second half, most notable that of Rafael van der Vaart, who made his first appearance clad in white. Codina replaced Dudek and Robben stepped in for Robinho.
Van der Vaart couldn't have asked for a better start. On 73 minutes, the Dutchman's perfectly placed free kick beat the keeper to level the match. His presence changed momentum and in a span of five minutes Real Madrid took the lead when Pepe scored his first of the preseason. Van der Vaart's cross into the box was met by the Portuguese international, who tapped the ball into the back of the net. Real Madrid redeemed themselves with a brilliant second half and walked off the Bogota pitch under cheers of "Madrid, Madrid!"