Real Madrid Vs Málaga, Liga BBVA 2013-2014 Match Recap: Real Win 2-0

Denis Doyle

Real Madrid got back to action after International duty. Unluckily enough for Ancelotti, Benzema had to miss the game after receiving a knock during Friday's training session. Morata started on his place and Bale stayed on the bench.

The game didn't start very well for Madrid, as Málaga had a couple of good chances during the first five minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo shook things up when he hit the crossbar in the seventh minute after a good pass by Morata. Ronaldo tried to beat Caballero and so he did, but his shot was too high.

After that, a free-kick surprisingly took by Di María was saved by Willy Caballero, and a good 3 to 2 counterattacking chance was blown up by Cristiano Ronaldo. Everything that happened on that play was perfect, but Ronaldo's shot went wide and what should have been a goal ended up being another missed chance.

Morata's defensive pressure helped Real Madrid's midfield a lot, but his accuracy could have been better. His first header was saved by Caballero, and while his second one ended up on the back of the net, the referee rightfully disallowed the goal. His third chance of the game was saved by Caballero -again-. The Argentinian goalkeeper is probably Málaga's best player, and he showed why today.

Asier Illarramendi played as the team's defensive midfielder with Khedira and Isco escorting him. And Illarra was Real Madrid's best player for the first 30 minutes alongside Morata. Illarramendi makes things much easier for his teammates, and he should be the team's defensive midfield even with Modric on the lineup. That way, the Croatian player could focus a little bit more on what he does best: playmaking.

The first half concluded with some worrying signs and Eliseu missing a good scoring chance for Schuster's team. Madrid couldn't create a lot due to a poor first half by Isco.

Gareth Bale started his warm-up routine before the referee whistled the end of the first half, but Ancelotti didn't make any substitutions in the 45th minute.

Di María scored Real Madrid's first goal after Cristiano Ronaldo and Willy Caballero failed at touching his cross. It was a lucky goal, but one that Real Madrid certainly deserved after a brilliant first half by Willy Caballero.

Real Madrid kept controlling the tempo and the possession of the ball after Di María's goal. Isco had a good scoring chance but Caballero saved his team again. It's true that he should and could have done a lot more on Di María's goal, but the Argentinian keeper played a brilliant game.

The team should have scored another goal to secure the lead, but luck wasn't on Madrid's side. Málaga even had a couple of good counterattacks dismantled by Real Madrid's defense, but it could be argued that Ancelotti's team should've played a bit smarter considering they had the lead already.

Ancelotti decided to change Isco and introduce Luka Modric in the 73rd minute. That was Real's first substitution. Shortly after, Gareth Bale joined the match after spending these 15 days recovering from his thigh injury. The Bernabéu gave Morata a standing ovation even though his contribution wasn't as great as it could have been. His attitude was great though, and that's something the Bernabéu always wants to see.

The Welsh player played on the left wing for the first time since he joined Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo moved to the striker position and Di María stayed on the right wing for most of the time.

Schuster tried to go for the equalizer, but Málaga were not making things hard for Diego López. Jesé then joined the game replacing Di María, who helped the team a lot as well. His commitment is always remarkable.

Jesé and Marcelo combined for a really beautiful play, but Cristiano Ronaldo couldn't capitalize when he had all the odds. Caballero still left his mark on the game, saving both Cristiano's chance and a good turnaround shot by Jesé. He still got time for two more, one against Cristiano Ronaldo and another one on Marcelo. Caballero prevented Real Madrid from winning big this Saturday.

The referee called a penalty on Gareth Bale just in the last minute of regulation. Cristiano Ronaldo converted and Real Madrid finally managed to secure the win.

Onto Juventus and Barcelona. Tougher times ahead.

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