06 March 2013
Three wins in seven days. The crucial stage of the season has arrived and Real Madrid proved its impressive talent by capping off a perfect week at Old Trafford. The Whites kicked off the demanding week with a clash against Barcelona in Camp Nou on Tuesday, 26 February, where the squad outperformed the Catalans to secure their ticket to the Copa del Rey final. They beat their eternal rival four days later, this time at home for the season’s second Liga Clásico. And three days later Real overpowered Manchester United at Old Trafford to make it into the group of Europe’s eight best teams. Three games, three wins, a ticket to the Cup final and for the Champions League quarterfinals. In just one week.
“We knew that it was a crucial match for us, where everything was on the line, and it was great”, said Xabi Alonso at Old Trafford in a post-match interview. A feeling that was widespread in the dressing room and shared by Diego Lopez: “This is a week to remember and never forget. We picked up three important wins against two massive teams at a crucial moment in the season. We’ve taken a really big step but there’s still more to give”.
26-02-2013. Copa semifinal (second leg). Barcelona 1-R. Madrid 3
Real visited Camp Nou needing to score after the 1-1 first-leg result and the squad met the objective in just 13 minutes when Ronaldo beat Pinto in the one-to-one after he was fouled in the penalty area. The Whites created more chances to score and Cristiano succeeded once again to score a second goal in min. 57 after taking advantage of a deflected shot from Di Maria. Varane scored the third on a corner kick in min. 68, sentencing the game and clinching Real’s ticket to the Copa del Rey final.
02-03-2013. 26th Liga fixture. R. Madrid 2-Barcelona 1
The second Clásico in four days was at the Santiago Bernabeu. Mourinho made seven changes in the starting eleven to save up strength for the upcoming trip to England, and once again Real outperformed. A good lay off by Morata in min. 6 ended in Benzema’s 1-0 goal. Barcelona equalised the match in min. 18 but the Whites kept the pressure on, with clear chances to score. The determination of Sergio Ramos brought the score to 2-1 with a header by the midfielder, sentencing the win in min. 82.
05-03-2013. Champions Round of 16 (second leg). M. United 1-R. Madrid 2
Real Madrid visited one of Europe’s most difficult stages having to score at least one goal to keep their chances alive after the 1-1 first leg results. Neither side ceded in the first half, but everything changed after the restart. The Red Devils pushed forward when Sergio Ramos scored an own goal in min. 48, but Modric’s entrance turned the match around. The Croatian player scored a fantastic strike to even the score (min. 66) and Cristiano Ronaldo brought home the win two minutes later (1-2). Saves by Diego Lopez did the rest and were decisive in securing Real’s spot in the Champions League quarterfinals.