Saturday, 29 November 2008

Lose 3-1 Againts Getafe, A Deadly Blow For Galacticos......

Getafe defeated Real Madrid 3-1 in the Madrid derby on Saturday night, thereby ensuring there would be no Christmas financial bonus for Los Merengues.

Un-Real Getafe Run Madrid Ragged
Getafe lined up as expected, with all eyes on Esteban Granero and Roberto Soldado, two players not deemed good enough for the Bernabeu who were looking to punish their former club. Manu Del Moral, who scored their goal at the Camp Nou last week, was not fit to play.

Bernd Schuster, meanwhile, had to make some enforced changes due to the worsening injury situation. Miguel Torres continued to fill in at right-back, while Javier Saviola earned a rare start up front, in place of the crocked Gonzalo Higuain.

First Half

Despite being the less-heralded Madrid derby, this game has always served up plenty of excitement, and after two minutes it was clear that this occasion would be no different. With Getafe's first foray forward of the match, Jaime Gavilan crossed from the left flank for Juan Albin to head past Iker Casillas. It was a dream start for the Getafe faithful, but a nightmare one for Schuster's side, who had entertained visions of catching up to leaders Barcelona with a win.

It almost got worse for Madrid immediately after, with a vociferous claim for a penalty from Getafe on five minutes. Casillas appeared to grab hold of Esteban Granero as they contested a free-kick in the box, although the former Madridista seemed to make the most of it. It was a decision that could have gone either way, and luckily for Madrid, the referee decided not to blow his whistle.

Getafe continued to pose problems for the visitors, with both flanks getting a workout. Then, completely against the run of play, Raul wasted a brilliant chance to draw level. Royston Drenthe went on a incredible, mazy run down the left before cutting back for the striker, who looked odds on to finish. His shot, however, was a tame one that went straight at Roberto Abbondanzieri's legs with the goal gaping.

The early signs indicated that this was not to be Real Madrid's night, and their problems were exacerbated on 15 minutes, when Wesley Sneijder became their latest injury victim. The Dutchman's ankle was clipped by Roberto Soldado, and he promptly hit the deck, clearly in severe pain. It did not take long for the stretcher to come out, and he was replaced by compatriot Rafael Van Der Vaart, as Bernd Schuster wondered why his side could not get through a match without any casualties.

It was always going to be hard for Getafe to maintain the frantic pace with which they began, and as errors began to creep into their game. Real Madrid began to look more comfortable. On 29 minutes, Van de Vaart played an excellent through ball to Marcelo, who turned well but shot just wide of the far post. The visitors, though, were gaining the ascendancy.

On 34 minutes, Michel Salgado replaced Miguel Torres, who appeared to have been carrying a knock. The change was inevitable, though, given the constant questions being asked to the youngster on the right flank, questions he was failing to answer. Sergio Ramos, the usual right-back, was then asked a serious question by Soldado.

The man who started the season in the Real Madrid squad was taken out by a poor sliding tackle from Ramos that got nowhere near the ball. A penalty seemed certain, but, yet again, the referee was happy to let the game continue. It was a lucky break for Madrid, and Getafe's frustration was evident as Juan Albin committed a cynical foul on Ramos, to become the first man into the book.

That was the last major incident of the half, as Real Madrid entered the dressing rooms needing at least two goals in the second period if they were to keep their hopes of climbing to the top, not to mention claiming their infamous "Christmas bonus", alive.

Second Half

Whatever Bernd Schuster said to his troops at half-time clearly had no effect, as deja-vu struck immediately after the break. Just as he had in the first half, Albin found the net two minutes after the start.

Receiving the ball on the left flank, Albin still had a lot of work to do, but he made it look all too easy. After leaving Fernando Gago for dead, a cross looked inevitable, but instead the Uruguayan shot from a seemingly impossible angle to beat Casillas at this near post. Slightly suspect goalkeeping perhaps, but there was no doubting that Albin was a man on a mission, and quite clearly the best player on the pitch.

Just as it seemed as though Real Madrid were heading towards an embarrassing derby defeat, Saviola decided to score, completely against the run of play. A trademark sublime Guti through ball released El Pibito, who calmly slotted the ball into the top corner of his compatriot's net. The champions were not dead yet.

The game was now wide open, and both sides looked like scoring every time they came forward. Royston Drenthe was looking lively on the left, while Albin continued to pose problems for Los Merengues' defence at every opportunity. With half an hour to go, Victor Munoz brought on the dangerous Ikechukwu Uche for Soldado. He made an immediate impact, earning a dangerous free-kick on the right flank.

From the set-piece, the ball fell to Eugen Polanski, whose mishit shot struck the post. The danger, however, was not yet averted, as the ball rebounded onto Casillas' foot, only to nestle safely into his hands. Somehow, Madrid remained in the game.

Strangely, Real Madrid had lost all the momentum immediately after scoring, and now looked incapable of mounting a serious attack, let alone getting another goal. All their efforts seemed to be concentrated on stopping a rampant Albin from further adding to his tally.

With 15 minutes remaining, Schuster decided to throw in promising youngster Alberto Bueno in place of Marcelo. Drenthe remained the only genuine threat, but his forays down the left were left unsupported by his team-mates. Meanwhile, Michel Salgado's handball in the box went unpunished by the referee, thus marking arguably the third penalty that should have been awarded to Getafe.

Those decisions were not to hurt Getafe, however, as the substitute Uche sealed the deal on 81 minutes. Unsurprisingly, Albin was heavily involved again. The Uruguayan's sublime ball found Uche, who finished with precision at the near post.

Real Madrid threw everything into attack in the remaining minutes, but it was Getafe who looked the most likely to score, as they were denied yet another potential penalty when Uche was pushed by Pepe in the box. It did not matter though, as Los Merengues slumped to an embarrassing defeat.

After their minor recent resurgence, the knives will once again be out for Bernd Schuster's men, whose fans will be sorely disappointed by yet another insipid performance. The players will also have to cut down on their Christmas shopping, having blown their chance for a little extra festive cash.

Getafe 3-1 Real Madrid

Albin 2, 47 Saviola 55
Uche 81

Getafe: Abbondanzieri - Contra (Cortes 58), Diaz, Mario, Licht - Granero, Polanski (Celestini 73), Casquero, Gavilan - Soldado (Uche 61), Albin

Real Madrid: Casillas - Torres (Michel Salgado), Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo (Bueno 75) - Gago, Sneijder (Van Der Vaart 15), Guti, Saviola, Drenthe, Raul

Yellow Cards: Albin 41, Pepe 45, Van der Vaart 64, Salgado 65, Ramos 70, Guti 77, Cata Diaz 85

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