Players celebrate

Real Madrid gave their fans the best Christmas present EVER – a mauling. With Barcelona playing in Abu Dhabi for the FIFA Club world championship (which they won in extra time), Los Blancos had the opportunity to reduce the lead at the top of the league. The last game before the league goes for a Christmas break and draw curtains on 2009, the club faced Real Zaragoza who were languishing behind in the bottom three.

Score Real Madrid Real Zaragoza
1-0 Higuain
2-0 Van der Vaart
3-0 Van der Vaart
4-0 Higuain
5-0 Ronaldo
6-0 Benzema

It didn’t take the club long to make their intentions clear. Higuain pounced on a run ball which the Argentina calmly netted past the despairing Zaragoza keeper, Lopez Vallejo in as early as the third minute. This made the score 1-0 to The Whites.

After two efforts from Van der Vaart from a header and Crtistiano Ronaldo’s free kick, the second arrived via the Dutchman. Van der Vaart received a neat chip pass from Marceloa to double the lead and for the player to prove his worth. Real Madrid up 2-0 in the 26th minute.

The third didn’t take long in arriving. Just two minutes later, VDV was on the receiving end of a Sergio Ramos cross from the right to slot past the keeper with a deft touch. Real Madrid 3-0 up in the 28th minute.

The only real chance for Zaragoza fell to Lafita whose long range effort was easily palmed away for corner safety by Iker Casillas.

The fourth goal for Real Madrid arrived in truly remarkable fashion through Pipita (Higuain). A superb touch from a clearance kept the ball in control and then a neat chip strike into the corner of the goal. A fantastic goal which deserves an applause. Exquisite touch to begin with and then a magical chip to make it four on the night and the second for the Argentine. Real Madrid 4-0 up in the 34th minute.

The teams went into the break with Real Madrid dominating and the 4-0 scoreline reflected the same. (Half Time 4-0)

The second half started just the way the first had begun, with an early goal. This time Ronaldo got his name on the sheet. He met Garay’s cross into the box and beat five players and the keeper to score an amazing goal again. It involved a great touch, awareness of the goal and smart dribbling skills to achieve the little space to curl the ball in with his left foot. Real Madrid 5-0 in the 50th minute.

The sixth and the last goal of the game arrived via substitute Karim Benzema who replaced Marcelo. At the same time, Raul came on for Higuain. Benzema after a few attempts and run ins into the box finally got his goal in the 72nd minute from a throw ball supplied by Van der Vaart. He ran besides a defender and slot past the keeper as the ball hit the goal post and then went into the net to make it a smashing night for the home faithful and the team. Real Madrid 6-0 in the 72nd minute.

The score remained the same until the end of the half and the game. Real Madrid 6-0 Real Zaragoza. This reduces the gap at the top to 2 points with Barcelona on 39 points and Real Madrid on 37.

Positives
1. Great build up plays and awareness by plenty of awareness, especially Van der Vaart.
2. Many defensive interventions which proved decisive in reducing the threat on goal.
3. The second point along with good defensive play on the whole meant a clean sheet.
4. Patience shown at many stages to maintain possession of the ball even without lack of space. Well played by all defenders to keep the area beyond midfield strong.

Negatives
1. Ball lost cheaply many times in midfield and also in the final third which could be a problem for more attacking sides.
2. The set play defense still looked dodgy at times. Defenders need to get stronger and man the area better.
3. Our midfielders and forwards need to make many intelligent runs behind the defense to beat the offside trap and also off the ball movement seemed to be lacking which thus increased the instances of ball lost.