Well, then! I was seriously expecting a tough match as Valencia is currently (well, for now) third in La Liga. The toughness? Not so much. The big news was the most emphatic return of our beloved Pipita to goal scoring form. Whooooo! The game started with the Valencia players forming a corridor of honor for Los Blancos to walk through in recognition for our Copa Del Rey win. I thought it was a lovely tribute. Mestalla turned into our happy place for the second time this week as Real Madrid thumped Valencia 6-3. Our starting lineup was Casillas; Albiol, Garay, Carvalho, Nacho; Lass, Granero; Kaka, Canales, Benzema; Higuain while Valencia’s was Guaita; Miguel, Stankevicius, Ricardo Costa, Mathieu; Maduro, Topal, Ever Banega; Pablo, Soldado, Mata. The game started out fast and furious. Jailbait! had an early chance at 8′ but it went wide. Soldado had a shot deflected at 14′ and Iker made a save against him at 16′ – it seemed like Valencia were starting to take charge. However, we were also coming on strong. Karim took a shot at 20′ that went off the crossbar. Canales had another shot at 22′ which Guaita saved. 23′ was the charm – Pipita came down the right and sent a low cross which Benzy slammed in! Madrid was just everywhere, constantly attacking and Valencia’s defenders made some horrific mistakes. Pipita snuck around Jeremy Mathieu at 30′ and put the ball in the net. Score: 2-0 It was so good to see him scoring again – this was his first goal since his return from surgery. Things kept getting better for Madrid and worse for Valencia. At 39′, Benzema sent the ball to Pipita who passed to Kaka and he sent it on home. Score: 3-0 Kaka celebrated by popping the ball under his shirt – an obvious dedication to his beautiful wife Caroline who is due to give birth to their baby girl in a few days. This goal was a nice belated birthday prezzie for Kaka.
As the thrashing continued, Benzy had another shot at 41′ which Guaita managed to clear. However, at 43′, I sneezed. Literally. When I looked back up, we had scored! Thank god for replays. Kaka leveled a pass to Pipita who slotted it home. 4 frigging goals before the half. 4 goals in 20 minutes. It’s great and all because it’s our team, but I hate seeing such an uneven game. Also, Valencia is a good side having an off day. It was hard to watch. I was grateful for the half and truth be told, I was hoping that they would score at least one so they wouldn’t be so shamed in front of their home crowd (who, may I add was whistling them). As the second half started, Valencia seemed to have a bit more control of the ball. However, all hell broke loose at 53′ when Pipita scored again on an assist from Kaka. Oh man! A hat trick! And Kaka assisted on all three goals. Great game thus far for both of them. I felt so damn bad for Valencia. At this point, the camera showed their fans getting up and walking out in droves. I think that sucks! You support your team no matter what – even if they’re playing like complete and utter shite. Valencia fans should take a page from Tottenham Hotspur fans. During their 4-0 loss to Madrid, the fans sang their hearts out and cheered their fans until the very end. That’s class. And true love. Shame on the ones who walked out. I sobbed my heart out during the November clasico but I stuck with the game and kept cheering for my team, you know? It’s our duty, IMHO. Benz almost made it 6 at 58′, but didn’t finish it. Valencia decided to make some substitutions at 59′: Pablo Hernández Joaquín out, Sánchez Rodríguez in and Hedwiges Maduro out, Jonas in. Pablo took it especially hard, kicking the bench and tossing something when he sat down. My heart went out to him. Whatever they did worked, because Roberto Soldado (with an assist from Jonas) slotted home their first goal at 60′! I can’t find a picture of it anywhere either, unfortunately. Iker looked like someone had run over his puppy and was cussing up a storm, but seriously, let ’em have one, you know? These were the faces we saw on Valencia for the bulk of the game:
So as far as I was concerned, it was okay if Iker’s sheet wasn’t clean today. But we know how emo he gets about these things. I figured “Hey, it’s just one goal, right?” Erm, maybe not. Benz slipped one to Kaka at 62′ and our papi-to-be put it in the net. Score: 6-1!
Right after that, Mou decided to make the first substitution, Canales out, Xabi Alonso in. Bye, Jailbait! Good work today! At 67′, he also decided to give Pipita a rest and send Cris in. As expected, Pipa received a well deserved standing ovation. I’m sure Valencia was just thrilled to see Cristiano Ronaldo coming on for the last half hour. It was beyond a nightmare for them at this point. We were the first team ever to score 6 goals at Mestalla. We made our final substitution at 76′ with Pedro Leon (!) coming on for Eze Garay. It’s been ages since we’ve seen Peter Lion, due to injuries and other things. It was nice to see his big hair all up on the pitch.
Valencia again surprised us at 80′ with a goal by Jonas (assist from Mata). As you can imagine, Iker was pissed. 2 goals got by him? Yikes!
Valencia made their last substitution at 83′ sending out Jeremy Mathieu and bringing in Jordi Alba. It turned out to be a very wise decision. Things got super crazy around the goal. First, Jonas, then Soldado had up close shots which Iker managed to save. His luck ran out at 85′, when the newly arrived Jordi Alba put one past him with an assist from Mata.
Wowsa! Believe it or not, three goals for Valencia and this was the only picture that I could find of a celebration. I bet the idiots who walked out were kicking themselves right about now. As well they should!
Iker looked like this. Oh boy. I would not want to be in the dressing room afterward when he eviscerates the defense. He really couldn’t do much about any of those goals. He takes ever goal as a complete loss, so I’m sure he was inconsolable. Lots of Morrissey, American Music Club, etc. on the Ipod on the way home for sure. I’m sending Shiggers to Madrid to pet your head, Iker. You look like you need it. I’m sure her fiance won’t mind just this once!
Jonas got the first yellow card of the game (seriously?!) at 89′ but it was all a moot point. The game ended after 3 additional minutes of injury time. Final score: 6-3. There was one moment which should have been a straight up penalty for Valencia and I can’t believe it wasn’t called. Albiol pulled the same shit that got him red carded in the last Clasico. He grabbed Soldado by the neck and took him down in the box. I can’t believe the whistle wasn’t blown. It was the same damn thing he did to Villa. Chori, you’d better quit that shit. Completely unnecessary. I thought it was an asshole move the first time you pulled it.
So how did things shake out in the end? Well, there were four big stories of the night and they are all in this picture below:
Benzema: 1 goal, 1 assist Kaka: 2 goals, 2 assists Pipita: 3 goals, 2 assists. Unbelievable performance by this trio. Today was also the debut of Castilla member Nacho! As you may recall, he is the older brother of Muppet Baby Week alum Alex. He was called up but didn’t play in the Copa Del Rey final. Mou gave him a place in the starting line up. He did a great job and played a full 90. He got taken down hard twice and the stretcher came out the second time, but he hung in there. He should be so proud. Mou said “Nacho debuted with the first team today in what was a difficult match, and he looked like a war veteran. That is what I want from young players who are prepared, especially from a psychological standpoint. Hats off to him as well as all his teammates.”
Nacho seemed thrilled: “I trained with the first team all week long, but I didn’t know I would play until today. I am very happy to have had this opportunity after so many years at Real Madrid. We got to a point in the match that I just couldn’t continue. It was such an intense match, but I wanted to continue. Primera Division is a whole other world.” He continued “I am honored to hear what Mourinho had to say about me. All my teammates congratulated me. I didn’t have the chance to debut in the Copa del Rey the other day, but I will never forget this day. My brother Alex was encouraging me all week long and he told me to stay calm. I will give my shirt to my family and I will keep the ball.” Aw! I’m so happy for him! As ever, the canterano’s biggest cheerleaders Marcelo and Pepe took extra good care of the youth teamer on his debut. Love those two!
El Pirata had a really good game and hustled out there. It’s good because he’s probably going to have to replace Sami in the game on Wednesday.
Mmmm, pretty boys being pretty. Together. Such is the stuff that blogs are made of. Ah, there’s so much to talk about! I may have to break this into two parts! I think I’ll do that, but first a few more things. Mou did his press conference as was pleased with the win. In addition to his already mentioned comments about Nacho’s debut, he had this to say:
“Some people may lose focus after unforgettable matches, but that wasn’t the case today. We took this match very seriously, but the three points are all that matter so that we can continue fighting as long as we are mathematically still alive.” “A few weeks ago we lost to Sporting, but overall we feel good. What I say about Kaka applies to the whole team. If we can finish the season well and with the feeling that we can beat any team, we will be extremely confident heading into next season. If Barcelona win the league, it will be by of the points they have earned, not by the ones we have lost.” “Kaka played a great match in a position that I like a lot. It’s a position that he is used to. We need him and he needed the confidence that he gained from this match. People can see just how talented he is during the home stretch of this season and he will start next season off in completely different fashion. I am very happy for him. And his daughter is due to be born in a few days.” “We will be at Valdebebas tomorrow, but not to train or think about football. We will begin preparing for the Champions League on Monday.”
Pipita was interviewed as well: “I gained a lot of confidence today. I am very happy; a little tired, but that’s normal. There is no better way to return home than with a lot of goals. The hard work and wait were worth it. Now it’s time to have fun because helping the team and accomplishing our goals are that count.” “No one was selfish. We played as a team. Now it is time to rest ahead of Wednesday’s match, but today we proved that we are in great shape heading into the final stage of the season.” “Mourinho has a variety of possibilities with the players he has to choose from, and everyone is in good form.”
And finally, Kaka: “We played well in the first half and were able to take care of business. We maintained the rhythm in the second, but Valencia took more risks and we ended 3-6. It was a great match for me and for Real Madrid.” “The match and the goals served me well. I needed an opportunity like this one. I want to thank my teammates, who have supported me at all times. We are a fantastic group.” “Everyone took advantage of the opportunity. We showed that we are a strong group. A team that plays like this after winning the Cup proves that it wants to finish the season on a high note.”
I think that’s enough for right now! I’m going to do a second post in a bit that will have some more bits and bobs as well as Put On Your Game Face.
P.S. After seeing the Barca – Osasuna match, all I can say is “Be scared, Barca, be very scared!” HALA MADRID!