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Friday, 16 December 2011

Ponferradina 0-2 Real Madrid

Callejon and Cristiano Ronaldo take Whites closer to the Last 16 against Ponferradina, who gave a good performance at their stadium

Jose Mourinho had said he was going to us a side capable of earning a good result to allow his team to seal the tie at the Bernabeu next week, and that's just what fans saw against Ponferradina. Callejon was the man of the match and scored a goal. The other was netted by Cristiano Ronaldo. The locals fought hard, but the Whites eventually proved their superiority despite being down to ten men in the last 22 minutes after Albiol was sent off.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Higuain, Marcelo and Khedira made the starting lineup. Ponferradina were extremely motivated, fought for every ball and put pressure all over the pitch, but they were bound to lower the pace of their performance eventually. Meanwhile, Real Madrid remained calm, controlled the ball and gradually started to have chances to score. Cristiano nearly netted the opener but Quintana cleared his first shot (21'). The Portuguese came close to finishing off a good cross from Callejon two minutes later, and the midfielder eventually tallied the first strike on the 28-minute mark following a pass into the box by Khedira.

The locals' spirit seemed crushed after the goal and Varane nearly scored a header immediately after it. Yuri continually tried to get close to Adan's goal, but the Whites' defence was solid throughout.

Ponferradina had the same drive after half-time and Domenech even hit the crossbar with a long shot (50'). Real Madrid were patient and played a slower game than usual, but were in control nonetheless. Albiol was sent off on the 68-minute mark with a double booking, making Mourinho react by bringing Granero and Ramos on for Sahin and Kaka.

Greater numbers gave the locals wings and the crowd began to drive them on, but this made them leave open spaces that Real used to their advantage, eventually scoring a second goal when a long pass from Higuain was picked up by Ronaldo, who defeated Quintana with a crossed shot (73'). Four minutes later, the Portuguese striker was replaced by the academy's Jese, who therefore made his official debut with the first team.

The locals looked to make a comeback in the final minutes to no avail. The crowd gave their team a standing ovation at the end of the clash given their great efforts against Real Madrid.

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