Real Madrid overtook Atletico Madrid for the first time this season with a 2-1 win over Celta Vigo (see highlights below). It was far from straightforward, but the man of the moment Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up once again and scored twice to secure the victory. The stand in keeper Diego Lopez also had a fantastic game between the sticks to prevent Celta causing an upset. Unfortunately the win did not close the gap on Barcelona at the top, but Ronaldo is closing the gap on Lionel Messi in the scoring charts.
Real Madrid have been on the wrong side of some poor decisions this season, and it seems to have got worse recently. Kaka was sent off against Osasuna on Saturday for two yellow cards, both of which were extremely soft. The first was for an elbow when replays showed that he merely jumped with his hand up. The second was for impeding afree kick when the player just kicked the ball at him on purpose.
Real Madrid did not have to play almost the whole game with 10 men this time, but the sending off of Sergio Ramos in the Copa Del Rey last night nearly gave Jose Mourinho and the team an almighty headache. The Spanish champions are practically certain to lose their Primera Liga title this season, so they will be taking this competition seriously along with the top European Competition, in which Madrid are currently second in the Champions League Odds.
But Mourinho’s men nearly made hard work of it, and they were only 2-0 up when Ramos received a second yellow card with around 20 minutes to go last night giving Vigo the chance of a comeback.
Jose Mourinho is well aware that he is on dangerous ground with the fans and officials at Real Madrid. A victory tonight at the Bernabeu against Celta Vigo will be a big step towards mending the situation, and the Portuguese manager is confident that his team will not let him down.
Madrid suffered a 2-1 defeat in the away leg, but the hard fought victory with 10 men at the weekend has brought the players together, and they are ready to push on for the rest of the season. Iker Casillas will regain his place in the starting line up, although that does not mean that he has made friends with his manager.
Despite playing a strong side, Jose Mourinho had to watch his Real Madrid team play second fiddle to a skilful and hard working Celta Vigo in the Spanish version of the FA cup, the Copa Del Rey, last night. As the rain fell in Vigo, so did the spirits of the Madrid players and fans. It could have been much worse for them, but a late goal from Ronaldo and the prospect of a second leg at the Bernabeu averted complete disaster.
Jose Mourinho already has one of his former players from Chelsea in the Real Madrid squad, and could soon add the left back Ashley Cole, according to reports. Mourinho has a good relationship with the players who enjoyed great success with during his time in London.
Michael Essien was brought into the squad in the summer, despite not having played alot for Chelsea, but Mourinho knows the Ghanaian and trusts his talents. This was proved on Saturday when he picked Essien at left back against Celta de Vigo. Essien is not a left back, and Mourinho had called Nacho into the squad from the reserves but gave the starting place to the former Chelsea man. This means that Essien is also likely to start against Dortmund on Wednesday.
Real Madrid have defensive problems today, after losing Marcelo, Coentrao and Arbeloa from the defence. The international break has not been kind to Jose Mourinho and the Special One will be hoping that his team can cause enough problems going forward to negate the defensive problems.
Christiano Ronaldo has some extra incentives to get on the scoresheet and he is a player who often responds to such things favourably. At the minute there are three players tied at the top of the goal scoring charts in La Liga, with Ronaldo, Messi and Falcao all having scored eight league goals so far.
Jose Mourinho will not want any more international games for some time, after losing three defenders during this break. Both of the central strikers for Real Madrid also picked up knocks but they are not as serious.
Having already lost Marcelo for three months and Coentrao for a month, Mourinho was having to think about shifting around his remaining defenders to accommodate. Last night we lost our right back Arbeloa to a muscle problem and he could be out for three weeks.