Real Madrid will be going into 2012 as leaders of La Liga! With a pulsating game at Sánchez Pizjuan, Real Madrid emerged victorious in a tightly contested battle, something the scoreline wouldn’t suggest. Three goals by Ronaldo, one each by Callejon, Di Maria and Altintop got us the valuable three points. Sevilla scored two goals through Navas and Negredo. Pepe and Manu saw red for Real Madrid and Sevilla respectively.
In the 9th minute, Di Maria slotted in a pass for Benzema whose left footed shot was saved by Sevilla’s keeper – Javi Varas. Ronaldo’s rebound shot was saved comfortably by the keeper in the end.
The pressure continued and we made most of the opportunity, as two minutes later, Di Maria slipped in a pass between two Sevilla defenders for Ronaldo to score from outside his right foot. 0-1 up in the 11th minute.
A minute later, Iker Casillas showed why he’s the saviour, the saint! With Navas finding space inside the box, he passed the ball into an unmarked Manu who had the easiest of tasks of putting the ball into the back of the net. But, Casillas sprung out from the other side of the post to help maintain our lead and keep the ball out.
Casillas showed further proof of his amazing abilities as he pushed wide a long-range shot from Trochowski on for a corner.
To prove how woeful we were in defence, Alvaro Negredo controlled an aerial ball on to his left foot, turned around and then had the time and room to shoot it on the far post. Luckily for us, Manu, who failed to score, was in an offside position.
Di Maria helped extend the lead as he provided another assist. This time it was the surprise starting XI entrant, Callejon on the end of it. He beat the offside trap and got the deftest of touches to make it 0-2 in the 37th minute.
Ronaldo put us in a comfortable position as we took a 3-0 lead. The Portuguese striker scored a belter in the 41st minute with Varas standing no chance to save that.
To make matters difficult for us, Pepe saw red with a minute to go into half time. He had been booked earlier on and received a second yellow for a hand in the face of Alvaro Negredo while battling for the ball. A definite booking in my opinion. To make up for the defensive imbalance, Callejon was sacrificed and Raul Albiol was brought on.
At half time, the score read 0-3 to Real Madrid but we were down to 10 men which made things slightly easier for Seville for the second half.
The second half picked off as the first ended. Sevilla continued to pile on the pressure while the man disadvantage proved to be a difficulty for us.
However, Di Maria made it 0-4 after a neat exchange of passes between Cristiano and Benzema on the half way line put the Argentine through on goal. He made no mistake in putting it past the keeper.
Two minutes later, Jesus Navas put some belief into Sevilla fans of a possible comeback. His shot went through Ramos’ legs and past Iker in the far corner. Nothing Casillas could do to stop that. 1-4 in the 68th minute.
Six minutes later, Manu saw a straight red card for a late tackle on Arbeloa near the half way line. Seemed harsh due to the proximity of him being far away from goal but given the nature of La Liga referees who have been card happy off late, it came as no surprise. Both teams down to ten men.
Ronaldo got his hatrick with four minutes to go. After being clear on goal, Ronaldo played a heavy touch which landed in the path of Benzema. The Frenchman dribbled into the area and was brought down. As he went down, he clutched his knee rather than the ankle which was taken down. Ronaldo stepped up to take the penalty and put it in the back of the net. Varas went the right way but the speed in the ball carried it past him. It became 1-5 in the 86th minute.
The mauling was complete three minutes later. Cristiano passed the ball into an oncoming Alonso who put the ball into the box for Altintop in the centre of the box. The Turk neatly tucked it in to get his first goal as a Real Madrid player. 1-6 in the 89th minute.
Sevilla pulled another goal into stoppage time. Former Real Madrid youth player, Negredo went past Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas to make it 2-6 in the 92nd minute.
With that, we go into the end of the year as league leaders by 3 points. We do have Ponferradina next week in Copa del Rey but as far as La Liga is concerned, it’s see you next year! Hala Madrid!