Match Recap: Real Madrid vs. Elche

24 Sep

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REALMADRID-ELCHEI have to start with something I saw Phil Kitromilides tweeted. About 200 Elche fans made the trip to the Bernabeu. Completely respectable given the distance for a Tuesday night. I love away support. I always wonder about our away support, as no one ever mentions it.

Keylor Navas notched his first start for our lovely Blancos since his signing in August. He looks an awful lot like someone that Lozil and I know, so it’s very strange for me to see him on the squad. I messaged Keylor’s “twin” and congratulated him on his first La Liga start.

And let’s get into it.

Photo 2


Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Raphaël Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Dani Carvajal; Toni Kroos, James Rodríguez, Asier Illaramendi, Isco; Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale

Elche: Herrera Yagüe, Rodríguez Lombán, Cisma, Albácar Gallego, Pelegrín, González Morales, Rodríguez Romero, Corominas, Mendes Rodriguez, Mosquera, Cristian de Jesus

As usual, our boys turned the tunnel into a pre-match Tunnel of Love. But Cristiano got the pre-match besos that Sergio usually reserves for Iker.
Photo 3

I was about two minutes late turning the match on. So the first action that I caught was 4 minutes in when Dani Carvajal got a yellow card for a foul on Coro just outside the box. I felt it was a bit harsh given his first offense, but apparently the ref wanted to set a precedent. I’m sure I’ll bitch more about the ref later on.

The resulting free kick was straight at Navas and we got Bale on the break. After some play around the box, Kroos got on the end of a pass from Cristiano but for all the movement on it (and there was a lot) it went just wide of the post.

Then in the 13th minute Kroos sent a free kick into the box. The Pony met it with his head, but sent it over the bar. The resulting goal kick sent Elche down to our defensive end, but we countered only to find Cristiano offside.

Elche made their way back to our defensive end and the ref made the call that sent me reeling. Anyone else?

Cristiano tried to clear the ball, Mosquera came charging in and (to me) did his best Busquets impression. I’m not denying contact. I’m denying that it was a foul. Never in a million years would I call this a foul. On anyone.

Albacar stepped up to take the penalty. Navas dove the right way, but Albacar put too much on it. It looks to me like poor Navas got a finger to it but the ref’s horrendous call put Elche up 0-1 in the 15th minute.

Right after the restart, Marcelo received a yellow card for bringing Rodrigues down JUST outside the box. Rodrigues tumbled into the box and I really thought the ref was going to give another penalty. The free kick was taken by Albacar and he shot it just wide of the goal.

Just two minutes later, though, we had ourselves a goal! Gareth freaking Bale with a fabulous header that skipped down and through the keeper’s hands! Props to James for the service!

I love the way that James bumps into Gareth and Gareth looks like he’s saying “Oh!” like he forgot anyone passed the ball to him.

To go with that, there is this really creepy shot of James hugging Gareth. I’m now a bit worried for the safety of our speedy Welsh winger.
Photo 10We had our equalizer. Now we just needed more goals! It looked a bit sketchy, however. Elche were putting together some super fast counter attacks. Their forwards are quite fast.

In the 27th minute, the ref made another terrible call. This time it went our way, however. He claimed Mosquera brought Marcelo down in the box and we had our own penalty. Look, I’ll be the first to tell you it’s a bad call when I think it is. It doesn’t matter if it works out in our favor. Should it have been called a penalty? No. Am I going to bitch about it? Hell no.

Cristiano stepped up to take the penalty. He fired it into the top corner and we now had the lead!

It only took five minutes for Crispy to notch our third, and his second, goal of the evening. The cross came in from Marcelo and Cris headed it hard and low to the bottom corner.

Photo 15

Photo 16In the 37th, Mosquera brought Marcelo down again. Outside the box this time, but it was within an easy range for Cristiano or Gareth. Cristiano took it but the keeper handled it. Then Kroos had a chance from a pass by James. Again, Herrera made the save. We kept having chances, controlling the majority of possession, but Herrera kept coming up big for Elche.

We left the field at the end of the first half with the lead. Real Madrid 3-1 Elche.

Second Half:

Five minutes into the second half, Dani played a cross into Bale. Unfortunately the header went high. Elche managed to move the ball down the field toward our goal again but Coro put his chance high.

It was the 59th minute when Albacar saw yellow for bringing Ronaldo down. I think to that point, it was the first decision the ref had made that I actually agreed with.

Elche’s first sub came in the 61st minute as Fajr came in for Coro. And Elche’s next chance came two minutes later when Albacar’s free kick bounced just wide of the post.

In the 65th minute, Alvaro Arbeloa came in for Carvajal. And in the 67th a Cris free kick was pushed out by Herrera. The resulting corner almost had Gareth on the end of it but Herrera managed to gather it.

Elche made their next sub, bringing in Pasalic for Victor in the 68th minute. We managed a few chances in the next 10 minutes but mostly we retained possession. I’m not complaining, mind you. If we hold the ball, they can’t score.

Chicharito replaced James in the 78th minute and in the 80th minute we received another penalty. This time it was Cristiano that was brought down in the box by Pasalic. This ref pretty much just decided that contact inside the box was outlawed for this match. He was probably the most inconsistent ref I’ve seen in a very long time.

Cris stepped up to take the spot kick, of course. And, like he does, he fired it into the bottom corner. 4-1 folks!

Our final substitution came shortly after, with Nacho getting some playing time. I completely missed this, by the way. He replaced Sergio in the 83rd minute. Kroos hit the crossbar a minute later and I hit my knees. I really, really wanted him to score his first goal. He’s quiet. He’s hard working. He’s constantly as confused as Luka.

In the 85th, Chicharito missed a sitter. He’s like the opposite of what he was at United. Hitting long range, power shots and missing the close range shots. What is going on with Little Pea?!

Herrera came up with the save of the game when he saved a diving header from in the 88th minute. It was a brilliant save, really. I wish I could find video of it. I promise to send it to Lozil if I do find it!

The fourth official called for three extra minutes and it was in the second minute of added time that Cristiano scored his fourth. Gareth set him up and Cris placed the ball low to beat the keeper. He makes it look so freaking easy.

And that was it. After conceding the early goal, we came back to win 5-1 at home. If you’re keeping score that’s 18 goals in 3 games for Real Madrid, 8 goals in 3 games for Cristiano, and two hat-tricks in row for Sir Tans-A-Lot. It brings Cris’s hat-trick tally to 25 for Los Blancos with 3 of those being 4 goal matches. I repeat: He. Is. A. Beast.

Post-match Comments:


Photo 24

“Cristiano has a unique gift for movement”

“The team played well, with greater balance, control and consistency,” said the Italian.
After seeing his side seal another comprehensive win, Carlo Ancelotti analysed the game in his post-match press conference and had words of praise for Cristiano: “He doesn’t like playing with his back to goal, he wants to look for spaces on the wing to be facing goal. The movements he makes are very quick and that’s why they come as a surprise. He is always in just the right position because he has a unique gift for movement.”

“He needed a period of time in which to work; he has done that with the discipline and professionalism that he has. He’s in very good physical shape, he’s motivated and he’s scoring a lot of goals.”

“The team played well, with greater balance, control and consistency. We reacted well after conceding. It isn’t a question of the system; it’s the work that everyone puts in. The team is in much better physical shape than against Atlético.”

“As you improve physically, it’s easier to have balance. We try to defend in a 4-4-2 and attack with a different system, so as to get good use out of the characteristics of our attackers.”

“I’m very happy for him. He has shown that he is ready and he played with discipline and professionalism. He is a very important player for our team. He is ready whenever I need him.”

“We have young players with a lot of quality, who bring enthusiasm. Rotating is important because that way we have everyone motivated. There are a lot of matches and it’s normal to rotate in order to avoid problems. Today, Benzema and Modric were rested and they will play on Saturday.”

“We have young players with a lot of quality, they brought enthusiasm last year and they’re doing the same now. It isn’t easy to not play so much and be ready when the coach calls on you. It shows the health of the squad.”

Keylor Navas
“He was assured and calm. The whole defensive department played well and Keylor did too. He didn’t have many opportunities to work but he was calm. On Saturday we’ll see which keeper plays the next game and that way we have time to talk about this subject.”

Have you placed Casillas in the fans’ spotlight?
“No, I don’t think so.”

Did the whistles of the Bernabéu influence the decision to leave Iker on the bench?
“No, not at all.”

Photo 25
Keylor Navas:

“Playing at this stadium is a privilege.”

Keylor Navas was a happy man in the mixed zone, not just because of his team’s heavy win but also because of his competitive debut for the Whites: “Playing at this stadium is a privilege. It’s something very special and something I’d always wanted. You have to be ready for when you’re needed, and help your team-mates.”

“I hope to have a long career at Real Madrid and achieve big things. I come away from tonight a happy man, because the team won. We’re picking up points and we have to continue in this vein. I’m calm, we all want to play. I’m learning a lot in this team, today I took a very special step in my career.”

“I hope to continue in this vein and make the most of the minutes I get and help the team to win. You have to work hard in every training session to make it difficult for the coach when he makes his decision.”

“Casillas has an impressive track record at Real Madrid. We mustn’t lose our intensity next Saturday against Villarreal. I hope we can win, come back to Madrid with three points in the bag and think about our first away game in the Champions League.”
Photo 26Arbeloa:

“The crowd helped us a lot”

“It’s important to win by as many goals as possible for the sake of the people who have come to the stadium. We’re playing very well and if we can keep up this level we’ll win a lot of games. We went behind early on, but the crowd helped us a lot. We were able to produce a response because the team is getting stronger and stronger. Today Isco and Illarra played, and did fantastically well.”

Great performance from Cristiano Ronaldo
“We kept calm, we were patient and we had Cristiano Ronaldo in terrific form. What he’s done is unbelievable. He has scored four goals, but he could have scored six.”

“The work the coach is doing is showing itself as the days go by. The new players are adapting to the team and we’re growing. The coach demands that the full-backs work hard to get up and down and that’s why you have to be in good physical shape.”

Support from the Bernabéu
“When the fans support you it’s always something you’re grateful for. You know that if the fans are demanding it’s because they love you, they respect you and they expect you to do better. When you do well, they reward you and today the crowd was with us. They helped us and encouraged us.”

“It’ll be very difficult. They have a very good team and the match there is going to be a test of our level. They have a great coach, they play good football and we’re going to have to put in a real shift to get the win there.”

And other match pics to close out. But before I go, as always ¡Hala Madrid!

(images courtesy of gfsports, yahoo sports,


One Response to “Match Recap: Real Madrid vs. Elche”

  1. jellyace September 28, 2014 at 12:35 am #

    Overly Jappy, Juggy James…is he our new Kaka?

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