Mesut Özil will go into the return leg of the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey with a great record at the Camp Nou. The central midfielder has shown his awareness and vision in these games as he has picked up an assist on each of his last four visits to Barcelona. Cristiano Ronaldo has been the beneficiary of Özil’s passes and this has enabled him to score four goals.
Özil’s assists in his last few outings at the Camp Nou have come in three different competitions: Liga, Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup. Three were the result of through balls from the German’s left boot and the other came from a corner. Strangely enough, the four assists for Cristiano Ronaldo in these games came in the second half.
On the last four visits, Real Madrid have scored two goals in each match and have picked up one win, two draws and one loss. As well as his fine form in terms of assists at the Camp Nou, Özil crossed the ball which led to Varane’s headed equalizer in the first leg of this year’s knock-out tie.
ÖZIL’S ASSISTS AT THE CAMP NOU
|07-10-2012||Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid
|Cristiano Ronaldo (2-2)|
|23-08-2012||Barcelona 3-2 Real Madrid
|Cristiano Ronaldo (0-1)|
|21-04-2012||Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid
|Cristiano Ronaldo (1-2)|
|25-01-2012||Barcelona 2-2 Real Madrid
(Copa del Rey)
|Cristiano Ronaldo (2-1)|
|Note: Updated February 22, 2013|
The appearance in the second half of Cristiano Ronaldo, Özil and Khedira and goals from Kaká and Higuaín earned the team victory against a Deportivo side that went ahead in the first half.
Real Madrid returned to the Riazor stadium two years after their most recent with the aim of making it three consecutive victories in La Liga. The first minutes of the match appeared to suggest that the Whites would be successful. In fact, the visitors had most of the possession of the ball, and the Whites wanted to surprise the Galician team with long balls behind their defenders. Callejón and Di María both tried to score in this manner, but the clearance by Aranzubia in the ninth minute and the misjudged control of the Argentine in the eleventh minute prevented the scoreboard from turning over. The first shot on goal by Madrid came in the fourth minute after a foul that was taken by the Argentine international. The home side’s goalkeeper was at full stretch to clear the ball for a corner.
From then on the game became complicated and a lack of accuracy in attempts on goal took centre stage. Neither of the teams were accurate in front of goal, although it was Deportivo who made the most of one of the few dangerous moves that took place in the match up until then. Pizzi made the assist and Riki, somewhat off balance, surprised Diego López with a powerful shot in the thirty-fifth minute. 55 minutes remained to turn the score around and the Whites did not waste any time. They had three chances before half time. The shot by Di María in the thirty-sixth minute was saved by Aranzubia, the attempt by Kaká after a precise one-two with Higuaín in the thirty-seventh minute was off target and Callejón was unable to beat the home side’s goalkeeper in a one-on-one in the forty-fourth minute. Deportivo could have extended their lead in another counterattack, but Marcelo cleared off the line with his head in the fortieth minute.
Ronaldo and Kaká led the comeback
Real Madrid came out after the break ready to change the script. The Whites had their best moments of the match, although the deserved goal remained elusive. In the first ten minutes they had three clear opportunities, all of which started on the left wing. In the first, the defender Kaka came out to meet Callejón, who was waiting in the goal mouth for a final pass by Higuaín in the forty-eight minute. Three minutes later, the Real Madrid reserve player was again a protagonist. His header into from a Kaká cross went centimetres wide of the goal defended by Aranzubia. Marcelo could have equalised the clash in the third chance, but his shot was deflected by one of the home side’s defenders in the fifty-first minute.
Mourinho then decided to make changes to him team and brought on Ronaldo, Khedira and Özil for Modric, Marcelo and Essien at the same time. The Whites changed to defend with only three players and their desire for victory was evident. Deportivo disappeared from the pitch and could only double their efforts to shake off the visiting side’s dominance. It seemed as though the goal was not far away. And such was the case. A pass to Kaká in the penalty arc, who lifted his head and shot the ball so ferociously that there was nothing that Aranzubia could do in the seventy-third minute. 1-1 and more than fifteen minutes to go for the win.
It would not be due to a lack of chances. Cristiano Ronaldo took charge of the team and could have put them ahead in two consecutive moves. In the first, and a flagship move, he dribbled past two opponents in the seventy-eight minute, but as he was falling slightly, was unable to beat the goalkeeper in a one-on-one. In the second move, the clearer of the two chances, a minute later, his was off target with a header after a pinpoint cross by Di María. The Portuguese would be decisive with two minutes of the match to go. An excellent pass by Kaká into the box and the Portuguese touched the ball just enough so that today’s captain, Higuaín, only had to push it into the goal to give his team victory. In added time, Di María was sent off for being show two yellow cards in the same move. A deserved come back and a boost to morale before ten days in which the team play two Clásicos in a row, one in the Copa and the other in La Liga, and the second leg of the last-sixteen match of the Champions League at Old Trafford.
José Mourinho has named a 20-man squad for Real Madrid’s game at the Riazor against Deportivo (tomorrow at 8pm), which is their 25th league fixture.
REAL MADRID’S SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Adán, Jesús and Diego López.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Coentrão, Carvalho, Marcelo, Arbeloa and Albiol.
Midfielders: Khedira, Kaká, Özil, Essien, Modric, Callejón and Di María.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuaín and Morata.
The midfielder has seven assists in the championship and 11 in all competitions this season
Real Madrid got their fifteenth La Liga win after beating Rayo Vallecano in a match in which Mesut Özil was one of the stand out players. The German footballer created the opening for Morata’s first and it was his free-kick that Sergio Ramos got on the end of to make it 2-0. With that assist, the midfielder moved to seven in the league and now has the most assists in the team ahead of Karim Benzema, who has six.
After playing the 24th match day La Liga, Özil is now the top of the list for Whites in number of assists in the championship with an assist every 224 minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo, with three goals, is the player that the German midfielder has provided for on the most occasions. Behind the Portuguese are Sergio Ramos with two and Di Maria and Benzema with a goal each.
REAL MADRID GOAL ASSISTS IN LA LIGA 2012/2013
|Angel Di Maria||3|
|Note: Updated February 22, 2013|
With this week’s assist against Rayo Vallecano, Özil has 11 so far this season and has at least one in every competition. The German midfielder has, in addition to the seven in the league, two in the Champions League, one in the Copa del Rey and one in the Spanish Super Cup.
ALL OF ÖZIL’S ASSISTS THIS SEASON
|Barcelona – Real Madrid||Supercopa||1||Ida||0-1||C. Ronaldo|
|Barcelona – Real Madrid||La Liga||1||7||2-2||C.Ronaldo|
|B. Dortmund – Real Madrid||Champions League||1||3||1-1||C. Ronaldo|
|Real Madrid – B. Dortmund||Champions League||1||4||1-1||Pepe|
|Real Madrid – Athletic Club||La Liga||13||18′||0-1||Karim Benzema|
|Real Madrid 5-1 Granada||La Liga||1||12||2-0||Sergio Ramos|
|Málaga – Real Madrid||La Liga||1||17||3-2||Benzema|
|Valencia – Real Madrid||La Liga||2||20||0-4, 0-5||C. Ronaldo, Di Maria|
|Real Madrid – Getafe||La Liga||1||21||2-0||C. Ronaldo|
|Real Madrid – Barcelona||Copa del Rey||1||Ida semifinales||1-1||Raphael Varane|
|Real Madrid – Rayo Vallecano||La Liga||1||24||2-0||Sergio Ramos|
|Note: Updated February 22, 2012|
Goals by Morata and Sergio Ramos in the first quarter of an hour earn victory for Madrid, who played for more than 70′ with ten because of the unfair sending off of the vice-captain.
In keeping with the theme of Mourinho’s spectacular figures in his 100 Liga matches, Real Madrid earned its fifteenth victory in the championship and extended the run of 35 matches unbeaten at home. The whistle to start the match saw the spotlight move from the coach, because of his accomplishments, to his players, who had an exceptional first quarter of an hour. Due to their greatest quality, speed in attack, they put on an attacking display and took the score line to 2-0 thanks to goals by Morata and Ramos. However, an unfair sending off for the scorer of the second goal, who was shown two yellow cards in one minute, changed the tone of the match. The White’s, however, demonstrated they are able to play in these circumstances. Despite playing for 70 minutes at a numerical disadvantage, they were resolute in defence and gave Rayo no opportunities.
Paco Jémez had warned in the build-up that his team was going to be courageous, and that is just how Rayo started, pressing high up the pitch but leaving too much space behind. Real Madrid accepted their proposal and showed themselves to be very comfortable from the beginning. With an unusual starting XI due to numerous injuries, the Whites were unstoppable in the first 18 minutes. The crowd were not made to wait long for the first goal. The third minute saw a move made in Real Madrid. A quick exchange between Kaká and Özil, who drove into the area, passes back and Morata, coming in from behind the strikers, scored with the first touch. The reserve team player’s second goal in his debut as a starting XI player in La Liga.
Despite conceding the goal Rayo were not daunted, but they were unable to keep possession long enough to make Mourinho’s players suffer. On the other hand, each time that the home side approached Rubén’s penalty area there was an air of danger. The second goal came in the twelfth minute. Özil’s free kick into the right hand side of the penalty area was met by Ramos, who beat Javi Fuego to the ball and headed at the near post. Real Madrid was enjoying how they were playing and the fans were enjoying the encounter. Even Essien got in on the act and dared to take a shot that was cleared by Rubén for a corner.
Real Madrid reduced to 10 men and the dynamic of the match changed
In the eighteenth minute Ramos was unfairly sent off after being shown two yellow cards in just over a minute. First, for a foul in midfield that did not deserve such punishment and in the following move for a handball after a cross by Casado. The numerical disadvantage changed the direction of the match. The Whites had to fall back, it was harder for them to steal possession and break quickly and their rhythm decreased. Mourinho felt obliged to restore balance to his team by bringing on Albiol for Morata. The match changed quickly from a speedy clash with chances. Rayo sought victory, but they were unable to breakdown a well deployed Real Madrid side. The visiting side’s clearest opportunity came right before the break, when a shot by Trashorras went over. Cristiano had a chance to score the third when he beat Rubén but was unable to finish after falling over.
Real Madrid took the initiative when play got back underway after the break. Aware that the result was not secure, the Whites went in search of more goals. Kaká and Cristiano were the protagonists of the second half’s first events. Rayo were not out of the contest, despite being less lively. They showed as much from time to time with fierce strikes by Lass and Domínguez.
Khedira had an opportunity in the sixty-sixth minute. A great move down the left by Kaká, who cut in to the area and passed to the German, whose shot was blocked by the defence and went out for a corner. The match was under control, but the goal was elusive. For this reason Mourinho brought on Di María for Özil. However, the team’s play was no longer as fluid. The effects of the performance against Manchester began to show. Despite this, the Whites were smart and showed themselves to be calm in defence, waiting to go on the counter attack for the goal that would seal the result.
The match became ugly in the final minutes. There were too many interruptions and too little football. The visitors tried desperately, although they were unable to cause Diego López any danger. Callejón came on for Kaká, who had given an excellent performance, in the eightieth minute. There was to be no change to the scoreboard and Real Madrid were the better team in the two matches. The match in which they played offensively until the sending off of Ramos and the match in which it had to defend for 70 minutes, in which they showed themselves resolute and unbeatable in defence.
Jose Mourinho has called up 19 players for the clash between Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano later today, at the Santiago Bernabéu for the 24th matchday of the season.
Goalkeepers Adán, Jesús & Diego López
Defenders Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrão, Carvalho & Albiol
Midfielders Khedira, Kaká, Özil, Essien, Callejón, Di María & José Rodríguez
Forwards Ronaldo, Benzema & Morata