Cristiano Ronaldo with one of his trademark shots.
Real Madrid earned a comfortable 5-1 win against Osasuna at the Reyno de Navarra. The team was expected to have a tougher time in Osasuna's stadium, but Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Higuaín performed quite well and let their teammates enjoy their time on the pitch.
With Sami Khedira out, Mourinho chose to play Esteban Granero and Xabi Alonso on the midfield. Real Madrid fans were not optimistic about these two midfielders playing together in such a tough stadium without a pure defensive midfielder, but Granero's effort was tremendous and Xabi Alonso didn't need any other helping hand. Neither Granero nor Alonso had a succesful technical game, but they were very valuable tactically.
Mourinho also opted for his attacking trio of Benzema, Higuaín and Cristiano Ronaldo upfront with Özil up with the midfielders. The Portuguese coach wanted to have as many scoring chances as possible, and Granero also guaranteed a little bit more of offensive skills than Khedira or Lass. The Spanish midfielder doesn't usually run as much as he did today, so the team's defensive transition is often lacking a player.
The game started off well for Real Madrid. The team scored in its very first chance with a precious goal by Karim Benzema. Cristiano Ronaldo dribbled Roversio in the left wing and crossed the ball with his left foot. His cross seemed to go a little bit far away, but the French player stroked it with a nice volley and placed the ball right inside Osasuna's goal.
Mendilibar's team then gained more control of the flow and the tempo, but both Albiol and Ramos defended quite well and prevented Osasuna from getting close to Real Madrid's box. Sergio Ramos saw a yellow card and will miss next week's game against Valencia, but Pepe will be back in Real Madrid's defense after his sanction.
Thirty minutes passed between Real Madrid's first and second goal. If Benzema's volley was pretty, Cristiano Ronaldo's goal was something Real Madrid fans should not miss. He received the ball very far from a dangerous position, but still managed to deliver an amazing, powerful shot. One could argue that Osasuna's goalkeeper should've stopped Cristiano's shot, but the path of the ball was modified because of the extreme power Ronaldo put into his shot.
Three minutes after Real Madrid's second goal, Higuaín put the 0-3 in the scoreboard with a chip-shot. Granero assisted the Argentinian player with a precise through ball. The first half ended and Real Madrid had completed one of the best first halves of the season.
Just when the second half started, Osasuna's Nino scored the first and only goal for his team after a good cross by Roversio. This goal meant that Real Madrid now needed to score at least one more to ensure victory, because Osasuna now had the whole second half to score two goals.
Osasuna had the momentum of the game until Cristiano Ronaldo scored off a free-kick in the 70th minute. The ball was deflected by one of Osasuna's defenders so Andrés couldn't do a single thing to stop the shot.
Higuaín scored the final 1-5 goal after Cristiano Ronaldo assisted him from the left wing with a good cross. Then Mourinho introduced some changes. Coentrao entered the game for Gonzalo Higuaín. Then, Ángel Di María made his return to the pitch for Mesut Özil. The Argentinian player didn't have a single chance of showing his dribbling skills, but he will surely be a very good asset for Mourinho in these upcoming games.
Varane then joined the game for Karim Benzema and played in the midfield the last few minutes of the match. The fans were expecting him to play instead of Raul Albiol, but the Spanish center back showed he is also ready to step up and play some minutes when needed.
Real Madrid now will take advantage of the 0-3 result against APOEL and some key starters might rest for the next Liga game against Valencia at the Santiago Bernabéu. The team started April very well, but the players still need to get this streak going in order to raise the Liga title.
Who was the Man of the Match?
Cristiano Ronaldo (198 votes)
Benzema (15 votes)
Higuaín (5 votes)
Granero (7 votes)
Other (comment section is below) (4 votes)
229 total votes