Real Madrid finally salvaged some pride in the league as the moved into the 2nd place for the 1st time this season. Atleti’s first home loss of the season (after 14 straight wins at the Vicente Calderon) and Madrid’s hard fought away win over Celta Vigo, has allowed the latter to leapfrog their city rivals into second spot in the table for the first time this season.
It was once again Cristiano Ronaldo amongst the goals for Madrid to help them register their sixth consecutive victory in all competitions. Though Madrid dominated huge spells of possession, thery were not able to find the net and it took almost an hour before finally Ronaldo gave the travelling side a deserving lead. And though Iago Aspas’ of Celta Vigo cancelled out the Portuguese’s strike, he couldn’t be stopped while taking a penalty for a foul committed on Kaka.
It seems Mourinho’s men have started 2013 on the right foot and although it may be too little, too late for La Liga title, they have picked up 25 of the 30 points available since the new year and the dropped points in this run came after a draw with Osasuna and a defeat to Granada. Although this now takes them above Atletico Madrid, 13 points still separate them from the leaders Barcelona.
There hasn’t been such a big gap between first and second in the Spanish top flight since 1999. But although the league is no longer a priority for Madrid, with two cups still to play for, their fine form off late is a more than a promising sign.
Here is a small list of Numbers for the new year:
16 goals in the five home games played in 2013 (An average of 3 goals per game)
Braces against Real Sociedad, Valencia and Celta including hat-tricks against Getafe and Sevilla.
12 goals in 9 games this season. He was suspended for the match against Osasuna.
Sunday’s goals were his first in la liga in a month, after he went 3 match days without scoring (not since 9 Feb against Sevilla). He’s been doing the goalscoring in the other two competitions though and if there’s one thing we have learned about Cristiano for Madrid, it’s that if he goes a few match days without scoring, he always catches up by getting more than one at a later date.
Here are some match thoughts from Madrid defenders Marcelo and Pepe.
Marcelo spoke about his crtics and claims it doesn’t affect him. He said:
“As always, I am working my best to help the team. I feel really good, I can improve but I’m well. When they speak well of me, I do not let it go to my head, the same way I don’t let the critics affect me.
“The newspapers have to sell their papers. We have to do our job. What comes out in the press doesn’t affect me. We’re working well. We are in good from and we will try to maintain it to finish the season well.”
And centre back Pepe talks about his new defensive partner Varane and on the game against Celta. He said:
Season so far: “We’ve had a very turbulent season, with a lot of talk about a change in coach and a change in players, but what’s important is that we don’t lose our focus.
Today’s game: “[Against Celta] we made a few mistakes in the first half, but the team fought on and we knew how to suffer. The victory is deserved. Madrid’s players are completely focused on what we have to do. It’s difficult to fight for the league but if you pull on the Madrid shirt you must always be motivated and honor that shirt.”
On Varane: “I’ve been in the training sessions and I’m so happy for Varane, he has worked very hard to get to this level. He’s a player with a bright future ahead of him. Madrid are the favoured ones in this aspect.”