20 January 2013
Real Madrid put on an exhibition in Mestalla and quickly settled the second of three consecutive matches to be played against Valencia. In the first half they scored the match’s five goals and completed a 45 minutes that should be framed. Higuain opened the scoring in the 9th minute and the remaining four came in the last 11 minutes, all of them beautifully crafted. Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo scored half of them each. The Portuguese deserves a special mention for his part in the second and the third, as do the three first touch passes that lead to the fourth and Ozil's assists for the final two, the first with a back-heel. The Whites continued their unbeaten start to 2013, have won four of the five matches they have played, have not conceded in the last four and now have their best away winning streak against Valencia in La Liga with four consecutive wins.
Real Madrid played the second of three consecutive matches against Valencia. The Whites played a tough match. They played against a team eager to prove themselves after Tuesday's defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu and they did so in a stadium that was a pressure cooker of home support. If the cup match was exciting and with chances for both teams, the start of this match indicated that this match would be equally as exciting. In fact, within the first ten minutes the Whites had two good chances to go ahead on the scoreboard. With the first, Higuain, who was alone on the penalty spot, could not take advantage of the precise low cross from Arbeloa from the right in the 8th minute. The Argentine redeemed himself a minute later. A nice deep pass from Ozil to Di Maria who lost his marker and went into the area before pulling the ball back for his compatriot. The Argentine international did not miss this time against Alves and his goal brought him level with Di Stefano as the player that has scored the most away goals against Valencia in the league, with six.
A real show in an unforgettable first half
The match soon went the way of the visitors. Valencia, conscious that they were in front of a home crowd, pressed forward to try to level the contest, but the quick Real Madrid breaks again caught the home team’s defence napping. In one of them Khedira, following a masterful assist from fellow German Ozil, came one-on-one against Alves in the 29th minute, but the home team’s goalkeeper made the save. It foretold of the show that Jose Mourinho’s team was about to put on which, in the last 11 minutes of the first half, put the match beyond doubt with four collectors’ items of goals. The first, which doubled the lead on the scoreboard, was scored by Di Maria in the 34th minute, but some merit should go to Cristiano Ronaldo for the dribbling and control that left Rami and Ricardo Costa on the floor in the area before his final killer pass.
Two minutes later the third was scored, and the Portuguese once again played a lead role. The Whites’ leading scorer combined with Coentrao and pushed forward into the area before passing Victor Ruiz with a beautiful step-over and beating Alves with a powerful left footed shot at the near post. The fourth was not far away. It was perhaps the most spectacular of all of them. Higuain won the ball on the flanks and passed to Di Maria in the 41st minute. What followed was a series of first touch passes which further embellished the classy move. The Argentine, with a volley, moved the ball from the left to the right, where it Ozil appeared and made a back-heel pass to Ronaldo, who scored his second goal of the night without even letting the ball drop to the turf. The fifth, in the last play of the half, put the finishing touches to a superb first half. A second consecutive Ozil assist and Di Maria's second goal who beat the Valencia goalkeeper with a diagonal shot. Real Madrid were putting on an exhibition at Mestalla.
The solid defence brought the fourth straight clean sheet
Valencia, with their pride wounded, came out on to the field pumped up in the second half. Piatti, in the 50th minute, hit the crossbar from a long shot and Coentrao, three minutes later, stopped the ball on the line following a Rami shot from a corner. Mourinho, knowing that his team will pay their second consecutive visit to Mestalla in just three days, decided to rest some of his players. Xabi Alonso came of off the pitch to an ovation in the 58th minute to be replaced by Essien. Nine minutes later Modric came on for Ozil and later, in the 75th minute, Callejon for Khedira.
The Whites continued their unbeaten start to 2013, have won four of the five matches they have played, have not conceded in the last four and now have their best away winning streak against Valencia in La Liga with four consecutive wins. This Wednesday, and again in Mestalla, they play in the Copa del Rey. If the Whites back up their 2-0 lead from the first leg, they will go through to the semi-finals.