24 September 2011
Fernando Porrero / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Real Madrid overcame adversity. Despite conceding a goal in the opening 12 seconds of their match against Rayo Vallecano, and being down to ten men from the 35-minute mark onwards, the Whites turned the score around and earned an impressive victory thanks to a great performance from Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Expectations were high at the Bernabeu after the team failed to win its previous two away games in the league. Things didn't have an auspicious start when, only twelve seconds into the game, Tamudo shot on target from outside the box, forcing Iker Casillas to make a clearance, after which the ball landed at Michu's feet and the striker scored. It took Real a long time to get into the game after that and Mourinho decided to replace Lass with Ozil in the 28th minute. The German stepped up the team's game and helped it put pressure on Rayo by keeping possession. The Whites were constantly attacking and their first strike came from a counterattack: Kaka served the ball to Ronaldo and the Portuguese nutmegged keeper Gutierrez after a 30-minute run.
The Madridistas saw the game was wide open again and went for it. The visitors withstood their onslaughts as best they could and eventually tackled Kaka close to the box (44'). Xabi Alonso crossed the ball into the area from the free-kick, Sergio Ramos anticipated Gutierrez's exit and Higuain ended up with the ball before an empty goal. Thus, the Argentine gave the locals the lead by half-time.
The second half had a frantic start, with Real looking to seal the match. Kaka entered Rayo's area and Movilla challenged him late. Ronaldo took the ensuing penalty and scored a third for the Whites (50'). A few minutes later Rayo fought back and scored from a corner kick taken by Michu (54'). One minute later, Di Maria was sent off with a second booking.
Real Madrid pull rank in adverse situations and played their best when they were down to ten men. Mourinho reacted quickly and made Khedira and Benzema come on for Kaka and Higuain. Ozil served a corner kick on the 66-minute mark and Varane finished it off with a heel kick. Rayo kept trying to score a goal of their own, but they hardly had time to react to Madrid's latest when Benzema tallied yet another being assisted by Ozil right outside the box.
And there was more to come when Gimenez tackled Ronaldo inside the area and another penalty was awarded. Cristiano took it and scored his third goal of the evening. CR7 has already netted seven strikes this season and is on his way to earning last year's impressive numbers.