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Sporting Gijón Vs. Real Madrid Recap: The Road to El Clásico

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Real Madrid won 0-3 to Sporting de Gijón, fulfilling its goal of keeping the lead against FC Barcelona just one week away from El Clásico.

Mourinho decided not to play Nuri Sahin and gave Lass and Khedira the starting role in the midfield. Surprisingly. Left Back Fábio Coentrao started in the Right Back when everybody thought he was going to be in the midfield alongside Khedira.

Real Madrid started the game quite sloppy without being able to find Sporting's goal very clearly. Xabi's absence was key from the beginning. Pepe and Ramos were forced to take the ball out of our defensive line with long passes to Cristiano and Higuaín. Sporting's defense remained focused to prevent any of these passes from reaching a Real Madrid player.

Lass and Khedira easily contained Gijón's attacks, but they were not very visible in the offensive part of the game, especially Lass. Khedira looked as if Mourinho had told him to be the Xabi Alonso yesterday, but neither the German nor Lass is that kind of a player.

The commentators of the game in Spain's Canal+ stated that Real Madrid was playing like last year by not combining as much and relying on the individual aspects of the players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo and Di Maria, who were clearly the best players of the game other than Ramos.

In the 32nd minute, Di Maria received a long diagonal pass from Coentrao. The Argentinian put the ball in his reach but finally lost control of it. Sporting's defender thought too much, instead of clearing the danger, just like Godín did in the Derbi, and Di Maria won the ball again, Then, when he was nearing almost in the goal line, he saw a little space left by Juan Pablo, who thought the Argentinian was going to look for the pass, and placed the ball inside very cleverly.

It was good for Real Madrid to score before halftime to bring Gijón's hopes down. Iturralde González sent off Rui Faria due to his protests, and the referee showed many yellow cards to both team's players.

The second half started with a more relaxed Real Madrid due to the lead. Sporting had to do something else to try to score. Their defensive approach on which they based their game during first half was not going to give them the win, so Madrid was confident about going on the counter attack to finish the game.

In the 64th minute, Di Maria passed the ball nicely to Cristiano. It looked first as if the Portuguese was offside, but the referee let the play develop and the replay showed he was right. Cristiano Ronaldo dribbled by the goalkeeper and scored with very little space to put the ball into the goal.

Mourinho celebrated that goal knowing that Sporting was not coming back and started to do some substitutions. Albiol entered the game for Di Maria, so Coentrao played the rest of the game in the Right Wing in front of the Spanish defender. Benzema joined the game for Higuaín two minutes later.

The Frenchman completed a solid 15 minutes, showing what he is capable of against closed defensive lines. In the 80th minute, Kaká reappeared with Real Madrid, and he could've scored in a fast counter attack. He had Benzema in the penalty spot to push the ball, but decided to go for the goal. Juan Pablo got a hand on it and send the ball to a corner kick.

In extra time, Marcelo dribbled by two Sporting defenders inside the box and put the ball inside with a strong shot. The Brazilian played a good game and this goal confirmed it.

Now Real Madrid's priority has to be recover Arbeloa for the game against Barcelona. Mourinho will probably give the bench some minutes against Ajax on Wednesday to allow his key players to be fully ready for Saturday's Clásico.

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