Sunday, January 16, 2011

Real Madrid Halted In 1-1 Draw At Almeria

La Liga has been a constant battle this season. Jose Mourinho brings a sinister atmosphere wherever he goes, and compared with this shimmering Barcelona team, Mourinho looks even more like a "bad guy". While Barcelona had no trouble in their 4-1 win over Malaga, Real Madrid were unable to defeat bottom-placed Almeria.

Real Madrid are the comeback kings. While Barcelona oppress teams with their staggering patience in possession and one touch passing, Real Madrid are a spasmodic bundle of energy, outrunning and often overkilling their opponents. While it often happens that teams manage to stall Real for the first half, the athleticism and motivation - which Mourinho creates - crushes Real Madrid's opponent.

Almeria grabbed the unlikely lead in the second half, Ulloa striking a diagonal ball past the badly-positioned Casillas. The Real defence had left Ulloa completely alone, and when the ball bounced to the Argentine, he clinically finished, low and hard.

Ulloa celebrating his opening goal
While Jose Mourinho gave Kaka a place in the starting eleven, he replaced the Brazilian with Karim Benzema in the second half. And it was the Frenchman who provided other substitute Granero the assist for the equalizer. Benzema laid the ball off for the oncoming Granero, who blasted the ball into the roof of the net.

But after the equalizer, the forever desirous Mourinho wasn't given his sixth victory running in La Liga. Instead Almeria held on, the players doing their best to suffocate Ronaldo, Ozil, and Di Maria. Yet the "try-hard" Ronaldo had to have his moment; a late free kick, in the final minutes of the match. Yet instead of rocketing it into the back of the net, it collided against the crossbar. This time, the comeback kings were unable to channel their frenzied attacks into goals.

Now La Liga is slowly slipping away from Real's grasp. While Mourinho's men might be able to rally themselves by Thursday, when they play Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey, they have a majestic rival. Barcelona seem unstoppable, their latest win against Malaga is their 13th in a row in La Liga. It will take something special from Real Madrid if they want to have a chance of winning La Liga.

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