Valladolid Vs. Real Madrid, La Liga 2012: Mesut Özil Saves The Day (2-3)

Denis Doyle

Real Madrid managed to come back from a 2-1 thanks to two goals by Mesut Özil. The German playmaker scored what could be Real Madrid's best goal of the season off a brilliant backheel assist by Karim Benzema. Valladolid scored its two goals off corner-kicks. In the first one, Khedira lost his mark, but in the second Casillas and Ramos allowed Manucho to head the ball and showed Real Madrid's struggles while defending set pieces.

It was an atrocious first half by Real Madrid, but the team somehow headed to the dressing room with the 2-2 in the scoreboard. Manucho put his team ahead in the 9th minute thanks to some lucky rebounds in Real Madrid's box. Khedira lost Valiente's mark, and the Spanish defender assisted Manucho, who was completely free as well. Khedira didn't play well at all, and he should be a key player in Real Madrid's plans when Mourinho's team is playing away from the Bernabéu.

Luckily enough for the team, a Valladolid defender lost his grip, allowing Callejón to steal the ball and assist Benzema.The French player pushed the ball to the back of the net and tied the game up in the 12th minute. That didn't improve Madrid's play, though.

Manucho could've been sent off after he elbowed Sergio Ramos in the 16h minute, but the referee only showed a yellow card. The African striker scored Valladolid's second goal shortly after. Casillas showed his aerial struggles in yet another game, but Sergio Ramos should share the blame with the team's captain as he let Manucho have a good positioning inside the box.

When Mourinho was already thinking about his halftime speech to the players and maybe substituing Özil for Di María to give the team more depth in the wings, the German playmaker dribbled three Valladolid defenders, passed the ball to Benzema and received it from the French striker to then score Real Madrid's second goal. That play fired Özil up, and he kicked the second half playing a lot better. Consequently, Mourinho's team started to dominate the ball and enjoy some very good chances that were stopped by Dan Hernández.

Mourinho had decided to introduce Di María for Nacho to move Callejón to the left back position. Valladolid had stopped attacking that much through that side since Patrick Ebert left the game in the 30th minute. Real Madrid's wing defenders were not attacking enough, so the substitution was simply spot on. It looked as if Real Madrid was going to score really soon, but in the 62nd minute Modric entered the game to improve the team's offensive rhythm.

Modric fought well but never got into the team's system, unfortunately for Mourinho. It was all Mesut Özil. After Benzema was fouled in the 72nd minute, everyone was waiting for Cristiano Ronaldo to shoot and convert the free-kick, but the German playmaker surprised Valladolid's goalkeeper and scored the winning goal for his team. Özil knew the goal was very important for Real Madrid, and that's the reason why he celebrated his second goal of the night effusively.

After that goal, Mourinho put Varane in for Benzema to rebuild the team's defensive line. The young defender played as the team's right back and performed quite well. After that, Real Madrid played very smart and never looked back. The last minutes of the game, Real Madrid kept the ball to prevent Valladolid from having good chances.

Now, the team will travel to Vigo to play the first game of the next Copa del Rey tie against Celta.

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