Real Madrid left things very very late to snatch a win against Seville last night in Madrid and consequently to take top spot from Barcelona who earlier yesterday failed to get a win away to Almeria. The new ‘galacticos’ had to overturn a 2-goal deficit to win 3-2. Cristiano Ronaldo was forced to put in a performance after his unimpressive outing against China in midweek.
You can find highlights of this game courtesy of 101greatgoals here.
Seville went ahead early on with the ball flying across the 6 yard box twice before going in off of Xabi Alonso who was attempting to challenge Negredo. Then on 52 minutes Dragutinovic curled a very speculative ball in on goal, to me it seemed to be a very straight cross as it had very little power on it at it wasn’t aimed at a particular corner of the goal, it seemed to completely undo Casillas though as with no one bearing down on the ball to worry him it simply bounced into the goal as he flailed after it.
At this point Pellegrini, already under immense pressure this season, must have been tearing his hair out. Were Real Madrid about to throw away a golden opportunity to go top of La Liga? Seville began to look very nervous and the game turned into an exercise in attack vs defence. The Merengues led an almighty bombardment on the Andalucian goalmouth with 34-2 on the shot counter goals were inevitable.
The resurgence only really began though once Cristiano Ronaldo swept the ball in on the hour mark once Marcelo’s cross had been deflected. The equaliser came in minimally controversial fashion, Van der Vaart taking a corner from the left hand side with the ball only just overhanging the corner quadrant, Sergio Ramos headed in to make it 2-2.
I can never understand what possible advantage anyone gains from placing the ball 6 inches slightly further toward it’s intended target. A similar situation occurs when watching penalty shootouts, players insist on placing the ball at the very tip of the penalty mark as if they didn’t already have enough of an advantage over the keeper. I would love to know what other people think about this.
Back to the Bernabeu, with Madrid now in the ascendency it seemed a matter of when rather than if. The stadium expected to see another goal but somehow the Seville goal resisted. Palop’s goal led a charmed life during this 25 minute period. Higuain hit both the post and bar and attempts from Ronaldo, Marcelo and Sergio Ramos all went agonisingly close to finding the net. All until the 92nd minute, a Sergio Ramos cross found Higuain who headed on goal for the umpteenth time Palop made a save but Van der Vaart bore down on the rebound and smashed the ball home, a true poachers goal.
The scenes on the pitch at the end of the game were truly bizarre. It was almost as if Real had decided that they had won the title. Perhaps this will be a turning point in the race for La Liga championship but to me it seems a little premature to be celebrating in such fashion. Real host Lyon at home on Wednesday evening, there they will again have a deficit to overturn (1-0), if they aren’t on their best behaviour they may see themselves exiting the Champions League thereby extending their poor knockout round showing since 2003.