Madrid had a practice session (it was an actual match) against Hercules in the Bernabeau on Saturday evening. Mourinho changed up his lineup and started Arbeloa, Albiol, Diarra, and Granero instead of featuring his usual lineup of Pepe, Khedira, Carvalho and Xabi Alonso. Real Madrid was still down 6 points in the league table going into the match while one of their main stars, Kaka was still sidelined with an injury and rumored to be on the transfer block for the summer, perhaps returning to one of the Milan Clubs. Cristiano Ronaldo missed another match but has healed faster than expected and will be back when Madrid faces Lyon (France) Wednesday at 3:45p. EST in the Spanish Capital.
Let’s first review the pummeling that the Alicante side was given in Saturday’s match. Hercules relied on Portillo and Kiko instead of Drenthe and Trezeguet. The bottom dwellers looked unmotivated which is rare to see from an Esteban Vigo side. In first 15 minutes, Madrid had 65 percent of the possession and that’s basically how the match continued. Esteban Granero was given a rare start and along with Ozil, was talking the free kicks instead of the usual CR7/Xabi Alonso combination. Calatayud, the Hercules keeper, was tested and looked very distracted and nervous for much of the match.
The Frenchman, Karim Benzema scored in the 23rd and 56th minutes after beautiful assists from DiMaria and Arbeloa. That’s 6 goals in the last 8 matches for “the cat”. Although only 1-2 of them have been truly spectacular, he is providing some much needed goal scoring up top. He’ll look to repeat his scoring ways against his former team who he managed to score against in the first leg of the tourney when they drew 1-1 in France. Real have not made it past the first knockout round since 2004 and is desperate to advance. The Madrid faithful trusts Mourinho and we’ll be relying on CR7 and Karim to get them back to where they belong.
About the Author
Written by Timothy Ashe Jr.
Tim was born and raised in Downers Grove, IL (a suburb of Chicago). He graduated with a degree in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign and also holds University English Language Excellence certificates. He's fluent in Spanish and teaches both English and Spanish in his spare time. He's a Real Madrid and Chicago Fire aficionado and is partial towards the EPL and LFP. His hope is that the game of soccer can continue to grow in the U.S.A. and for our men's national team to eventually win the World Cup.