Real Madrid’s unbeaten home run this season of 15 games has been brought to an end. Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten home record spanning 9 years and more than 150 games has been brought to a halt as well. The 1-0 loss came to none other than Manuel Preciado’s Sporting Gijon, who Mourinho had a war of words with during the first leg of the season.

Starting lineup: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Ricardo Carvalho, Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeloa, Lass Diarra, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil, Esteban Granero, Angel Di Maria and Emmanuel Adebayor.

Bench: Jerzy Dudek, Pepe, Ezequiel Garay, Juan Carlos, Juanfran Moreno, Sergio Canales and Gonzalo Higuain

Milestones:

  • The Brazilian Ronaldo kick started things as he was honoured by Florentino Perez and presented a trophy by the club president. He then proceeded to join Perez and Valdano in the presidents box to see the game.
  • There were no goal scoring opportunities in the first half for either sides with Real Madrid dominating possession but nothing coming out of it. Angel Di Maria looked the only one player on the pitch who was giving an absolute effort to do something. But even he had nothing to create to an opportunity for himself or for others as he dived around from one part of the pitch to another, winning free kicks.
  • A moment which many Madridistas had been waiting for. Gonzalo Higuain came on as a substitute for Esteban Granero in the 56th minute, after an injury absence of four months, amid a huge cheer from the crowd.
  • The shocker moment of the game arrived in the 77th minute as things continued to roll on as pretty drab and nothing eventful as far as attacks were concerned. Miguel de las Cuevas received a pass from Nacho Cases who rounded off the defender and his shot found the back of the net after hitting the goal post. Nothing that Casillas could do to prevent it from going on.
  • Thereafter there were plenty of chances for Adebayor, Khedira, Ozil, Canales, Carvalho, Higuain all having attempts at goal but not succeeding. Plenty of goal line clearances, blocks and corners but in the end Sporting held on to win all three points.
  • The fortress is breached!

Conclusions:

  • Was there a problem of strategy? I don’t think so. We had to make do of the choices of players we had. We were without Marcelo, Ronaldo, Alonso and Benzema; all of whom have been very important members of the team. All of whom who have been starting XI members week in, week out. Having all of them missing at the same time is always going to be difficult for the side going on.
  • Adebayor is just not the right answer. It may be very soon to say this but if the impression so far is concerned, he’s just not the player we had in mind for our revival or to fill the spot for the third striker. His biggest positive before he joined was of being good in the air but that’s not how we play and if/when we do, he’s not capitalised on those opportunities. He had chances galore tonight but didn’t make the most of any of them.
  • With April being a very busy month for us, rotation of players is necessary. Giving everyone an opportunity to play is required more than ever. Even though we would have been better off having a rotation policy in place earlier on as well but now its pivotal.

What did you make of the game? Share your views below. Where do you think we went wrong?