Match Recap: Real Madrid Vs. U.D. Almeria

16 Dec

Almeria stadiumMy apologies for the lateness of this post. I had finals and final papers to complete last week/this weekend. I had to focus my VERY short attention span there instead of our last La Liga match before the Club World Cup, which we begin competing in today against Cruz Azul.

There was very little prematch social media of interest. Marcus Slaughter sent out a grand HALA MADRID Y NADA MAS! We all feel him, no?

Keylor Navas posted this adorable photo with his son earlier in the day, calling him “My precious fatty”:

View this post on Instagram

Con mi gordo precioso !!

A post shared by Keylor Navas Gamboa (@keylornavas1) on

Arbeloa posted this photo with Cristiano and the gift that the selfish bastard himself gave the entire team in celebration of La Decima. All about him, all the time. Sheesh.

I know Lozil made a post about it, but I thought you’d like to see a $10,000 watch again…

Lineups:

Almeria: Ruben; Michel Macedo, Ximo Navarro, Angel Trujillo, Fran Velez; Verza, Thomas Partey, Edgar Mendez, Sebastian Dubarbier, Fernando Soriano; Tomer Hemed

Real Madrid: Iker Casillas; Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Pepe, Marcelo; Toni Kroos, Isco, Asier Illarramendi; Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale

Starting lineupsTeam Pretty looking to make it 20 in a row! And looking to rock that 20 wins while sporting the dragon kits.

Almeria started strong. In the 3rd minute, they earned a corner after an excellent chance for them was blocked brilliantly by Carvajal.

The first chance we had was in the 5th minute. Gareth used his gorgeous speed to drive past two defenders then drove a cross toward Ronaldo. Unfortunately Velez was there to clear it.

The bookings began in the 11th minute with a yellow card for Verza. He slid against Cris, raising his leg at the final moment of his slide as Cris tried to leap over the challenge. In the book he went.

In the 13th minute, Ruben punched the ball toward Kroos in an attempt to clear it. Toni volleyed it toward goal, smacking the crossbar. Cris attempted to bicycle the reboud but he was offside.

We continued to press forward, but so did Almeria. Then, in the 24th minute, Gareth was given a yellow card for a late tackle. Dubarbier then earned a yellow card for a challenge on Pepe when he was trying to clear the ball.

Isco decided to spice it up (and make our lives happier) in the 34th minute. It was an absolutely gorgeous curling shot that reminded me of one or two of our former players. Beautiful.

 

But, Almeria wasn’t looking to just lay down and let us walk all over them. They responded very well, despite us striking first. Verza hammered one on the half-volley into the bottom corner from around 30 yards. It beat Iker despite his best efforts to get to it.

But, we like our goals. In the 42nd minute, Gareth got our lead back by getting his head to a great cross from Toni Kroos. Absolutely flying!

 

I like leads much better. But don’t we all? I enjoy bigger leads, but I’ll take any lead. They don’t make me as nervous. And Heart Celebration Bale doesn’t make me nervous at all.

The first half came to a close after Almeria threatened us once more. Luckily we have San Iker on our side!

Second Half:

No changes for either team at the break. So let’s get into it.

As we tend to do, we began the half a little slowly. In the 51st minute, Dubarbier attempted to move down the left but Carvajal was there to make sure nothing came of it. We countered and Benzema won us a corner that was cleared easily by Almeria.

The next yellow card went to Soriano when he tripped Benzema in the 52nd minute.

Gareth used his lightning speed to break away from his defender in the 54th minute but couldn’t finish when he was one-on-one with the keeper. And our smiley man, Marcelo earned a yellow in the 57th minute when he slid into a challenge. There was absolutely no contact but hey… Whatever.

The first substitution of the match came from Almeria in the 59th. Dubarbier made way for Zongo.

Then, just two minutes after the substitution, a penalty was given to Almeria after a HARSH call on Marcelo. In the aftermath, and before the penalty was taken, Illara earned a yellow for protesting.

Luckily we have San Iker on our side and that penalty was saved!

IKER YOU BEAUTY!

This match was a bouquet of yellow cards and Velez made a tackle on Ronaldo in the 64th minute that earned him the latest card of the match.

The next substitution was again Almeria. Soriano, who was on a yellow card and very close to earning a second, was replaced by Wellington Silva.

The play was back and forth, we pressed forward well but Almeria responded just as well. But in the 76th minute, Pepe had a great chance to push into the box but Ximo got back very well to make the challenge. Then Benzema shot high just a few moments later.

Hey! Yellow card party! This time it was Crispy that was booked for a late challenge on Ximo.

In the 81st minute, Cris got his revenge. Benz played an easy ball into the center and Sir Tans-A-Lot split two defenders to touch it into the net and make it 1-3.

I love that Ronnie placed a kiss on a very intimate part of War Kitten’s neck. It’s hot. And I’m not sure which one of them I’m more jealous of.

What do I love more? Our goal celebrations or the goals themselves? I don’t know! Probably the goals, because they lead to the goal celebrations. And, really, they are the most important part aren’t they?

Almeria made their third substitution before Carlo made our first. Corona replaced Velez for Almeria, then a minute later Carlo made our sub. Coentrao replaced Benzema in the 85th minute. Obviously Ancelotti wanted to shore up that defense against Almeria’s attack.

In the 89th minute, Cristiano made sure that Almeria couldn’t try for a remontada of their own and that it remained OUR thing. Carvajal cut it back well and Cris sold the goalkeeper to the far post but shot to the near post. It was a great goal that gave him a brace and ensured our 20th win in a row.

Oh hello 32nd goal of the season! I know I’ve said it a few times, but aren’t you glad he’s ours?!

In the first minute of added time, Bale had a wonderful chance to add to our tally but his effort was saved well by Ruben, then his next shot was wide.

And that was it. We made our 20th win in a row and we head into the Club World Cup on a high. Bring on our next trophy!

Match Photos:

 

Post-Match Comments:

Ancelotti post matchAncelotti:

We try and win every competition we play in and that is how we will go about the Club World Cup”, he stated.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke at the post-match press conference following the game against Almería. The Real Madrid coach acknowledged that his team had faced some problems due to the intensity of the home side: “It wasn’t smooth sailing. They put a lot of pressure on us but our quality came through and we were able to win”.

“They fought hard and pressured a lot. We had difficulty keeping possession, we missed passes, but we were calm enough to win. It was difficult because they played with real hope and heart. The entire team suffered but in the end, the two goals decided the match”.

The penalty save
“The penalty save was a decisive moment and everything got easier after that”.

The Club World Cup
“We finished the year well in the league and now it is time to concentrate on the Club World Cup, we have to win it. If I had to give the team a grade, they would get a very high mark. We aim to win every competition we play in. There is a good atmosphere and we will go out there to win”.

Squad strengthening
“I will see what condition Modric and James are in after Christmas, they are recovering very well. It is possible that we will not need to bring in any players”. 

Casillas post matchCasillas:

“The penalty was a pivotal moment. The team reacted and got back into the game”.

Casillas, one of the key players in the game against Almería following the penalty save against Verza, was happy with the team’s last league victory of the year: “We have finished our last La Liga game of the year in a very solid and comprehensive way. It was a really difficult game but we found our way through”.

“It was complicated but we head back to Madrid delighted. Every match is different and difficult, but as long as we focus on everything in the short-term, the team will win”. 

The penalty save
“It was a key moment. If we had let the goal in it would have been different because they would have equalised, but the team reacted and really got into the game. We leave here home happy”.

“During the break we mentioned that this wasn’t our best game, we were lacking intensity. At the end of the day, we finished the game resoundingly, although it was a hard-fought battle to get to 1-4”.

The Club World Cup
“It’s a new competition for us. It is a different competition and also really important, we are going to try and make our fans happy. Fingers crossed that we, Madrid and the fans will have another success to celebrate. It will be difficult because as we saw today, things can get complicated and that could also happen at the Club World Cup”.

Holiday wishes
“I hope everyone enjoys being around their loved ones, and that we can keep this up for next year”.

Social Media Corner:

I love this post by Marcelo. Look at his face in the photo. He loves his team!

From Isco: “Great win yesterday and on to 20, now on to the world. A hug to everyone.”

And from Arbeloa: “And it is 20. Great game of the whole team. Now to finish an incredible 2014 in Morocco.”

Club World Cup starts (for us) today!

¡Hala Madrid!

(images and gifs from GF Sports, the-vip-football-collection, football-hqs, and realmadrid.com)

-mygypsyspirit

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