30 March 2013
Real Madrid drew in Zaragoza after the international break and became the first team to reach 4000 points in the championship. Rodri, in the seventh minute, put Zaragoza ahead with the home side’s first shot on goal and Cristiano Ronaldo equalised in the thirty-eighth minute after surprising Roberto with a left-footed shot. The Whites deserved more four days before the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals against Galatasaray; Marcelo’s shot crashed into the post and Loovens cleared the ball off the goal line.
Real Madrid returned to action after the international break against Zaragoza at La Romareda. The premise was clear: continue the excellent form and results that had enabled them to string together seven consecutive victories. The Whites’ objective was made difficult before the first ten minutes of the game had ended. Rodri made the most of a deflection in the seventh minute and beat Diego López in a one-on-one. The home side went ahead with their first shot on goal. Real Madrid would have to come from behind again away from home, but they had almost the entire match ahead of them.
After the goal was scored, possession of the ball, which had been shared by both teams in the early moments of the clash, became entirely Madrid’s. They came close to equalising in the twenty-seventh minute. A free-kick taken by Modric was headed by Pepe after a poor clearance by Roberto , but Loovens stopped the ball on the goal line. The equaliser arrived in the thirty-eighth minute. The home side’s defence failed to clear a long ball by Pepe, and Cristiano Ronaldo made the most of the loose ball on the edge of the area to surprise Roberto with a left-footed shot after beating two opponents. The match was now drawn and the Whites could have gone into the break ahead on the scoreboard. A measured cross by Marcelo was met by the head of a diving Essien, forcing Roberto into a full-stretch save in the fortieth minute.
45 minutes of the match remained and everything to play for at La Romareda. The script for the second half did not change, with Madrid creating the first chance of the half, which included three attempts on goal. A pinpoint pass by Callejón to Cristiano Ronaldo, who was unable to beat Roberto in a one-on-one. The ball was loose in the area and Marcelo, running on to the ball, stuck the post in the forty-ninth minute. The rebound fell to Essien, who shot centimetres wide of the home side’s goal.
With more than half an hour to go, Mourinho decided to bring on Di María, Khedira and Özil for Kaká, Callejón and Arbeloa. Essien switched to the right wing and the Portuguese’s push for victory was obvious. The winning goal would not come, however, although Marcelo, in the eighty-second minute, and Cristiano Ronaldo, in the ninetieth minute, were close to scoring it. The first of two legs to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League takes place on Wednesday against Galatasaray.