Real Madrid Vs. Levante, La Liga 2013: Madrid Wins It Peacefully (5-1)

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Mourinho decided to reserve some key players like Özil, Khedira and Cristiano Ronaldo, but this was also the first time we saw Benzema and Higuaín both starting a game this season. Casillas returned to the team's list but stayed on the bench, as Mourinho announced days ago.

Benzema started the game playing on the left wing, leaving the center striker position to Gonzalo Higuaín. The Argentinian player was performing well on the right wing and some fans expected him to continue developing his game as a winger, but Benzema was also used to play in the left wing since his Olympique Lyonnais days.

Modric played higher than Alonso, almost in a 4-1-4-1 system. Levante's defensive approach to the match made Real Madrid feel quite comfortable with that formation, and the team soon realized the balls had to go through Modric to create danger. Higuaín also contributed and created some space for his teammates early on

Real Madrid's first chance came on the 16th minute after a good shot by Kaká. Real's number 8 tried to score with his left foot but Munúa saved t brilliantly. Two minutes later, the team had a good counterattacking chance after a corner-kick by Levante, but Callejón's shot was too strong.

Levante scored their first goal in the 30th minute after a good counterattack finished by Míchel. They had four attackers going up against only three Real Madrid defenders and the Valencian team capitalized. Real Madrid tried to recover soon from that hit, but another good chance by Callejón went wide. Shortly after, Alonso crossed the ball and Higuaín's beautiful, acrobatic volley hit the back of the net. In the 38th minute, the ball hit the hand of a Levante defender and the referee sent the ball to the penalty spot. Kaká converted and Real Madrid got the lead.

The second half started with Cristiano Ronaldo entering the game for Callejón. Ten minutes later Mourinho put Di María on the pitch for Kaká.

Benzema seems to have recovered his old form a little bit, but he still lacks the punch and killer instinct of a pure striker.

Levante never seemed to care about the score and kept playing defensively, but Diego López had the time to save a good shot before the 60th minute. Pepe had a good chance to score off a corner-kick but Munúa once again kept it out of Levante's goal. Real Madrid's centerbacks need some more time to gel, it seems, as neither one of them played as well as they were used to last season.

Real Madrid could've scored at least a couple of more goals, but the strikers didn't want it enough. It's good to walk away with a win in such an irrelevant game, and the players clearly thought the exact same thing and decided to play slower and keep their energy for the game against Galatasaray. Di María played with effort and tried to score from outside the box a couple of times but his shots never found the target.

With only 15 minutes remaining, Benzema left the field for Mesut Özil. The crowd didn't like Benzema's match and booed him a bit when the French player was leaving the pitch. Real Madrid fans probably expect Benzema to be a better scorer instead of being one of the team's playmakers, but that's just how Benzema plays. He will hopefully find his own scoring rhythm sooner rather than later.

Özil and Cristiano Ronaldo performed fairly well in the few minutes Mourinho decided to gave them, and they might as well be Real Madrid's most important players in order to raise La Décima. The Portuguese player even had the time to score a goal after a brilliant individual play by Gonzalo Higuaín. Ronaldo is having a season to remember, and he clearly deserves to win the European title after all the good job he's done at the club. He also assisted Mesut Özil in Real Madrid's fourth goal. The German player scored another one in injury time off another counterattack, wrapping up the game.

If Real Madrid wants that to happen, they need to keep the 3-0 lead against Galatasaray. Los Blancos will travel to the Turkish hell this Tuesday.

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