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Real Madrid Vs. Málaga, La Liga 2012: Match Recap, Cazorla Shoots Down Real Madrid's Hopes

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Málaga performed really well tonight at the Bernabéu. As a matter of fact, this might be one of the best performances the Bernabéu has seen in quite a long time. Even though Real Madrid was winning 1-0 at halftime, the lead was based on luck. Mourinho chose to play Benzema and Lass Diarra for Higuaín and Arbeloa, and Málaga enjoyed many goal-scoring opportunities with Isco, Rondón and Cazorla, who was on fire tonight. Joaquín was also great in the right wing. In the second half, Cazorla tied the game in the final minute with a free kick assisted by Granero. FC Barcelona is now eight points away from Real Madrid, and Real Madrid lost two points.

The first half was absolutely crazy. Real Madrid played well offensively but conceded Málaga some dangerous opportunities. Rondón had a good shot at the beginning of the game, which was stopped by Iker Casillas. Cristiano Ronaldo also showed his speed against Demichelis and Sergio Sánchez. The Argentinian defender should have seen a yellow card after a bad tackle, but Referee Ayza Gámez let the play continue.

Luck was not on Kaka's side on offense, but he worked hard defensively by interfering with Málaga's midfielders when they tried to create plays. This was arguably one of his worst offensive first half's in a Real Madrid uniform. He improved in the second half, but fell short of completing a good game overall.

In the 35th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo crossed the ball nicely to Karim Benzema, who pushed the ball inside the net with his head. The goal came right when Real Madrid needed it--Málaga had held onto most of the possession and was defending the counterattacks well.

The first half ended, and when the second started, Madrid started to improve. Benzema, Özil and Cristiano were playing well between the defenders and the midfielders and Kaka also started to create some good plays.

Then, Kaka left the field for Callejón. The Spanish player moved Özil to the middle, where he is at his best. Callejón helped Lass Diarra a lot, because the French player was brilliant offensively, but terrible on defense. When Málaga changed Eliseu for Isco, the Portuguese player was able to burn Lass in the right wing.

Benzema played great, but he also missed two huge chances to score with 1-0 on the scoreboard. Málaga took advantage of this--Ruud Van Nistelrooy entered the game for Rondón and earned himself a standing ovation in his Liga return to the Bernabéu. Granero and Higuaín also entered the game for Özil and Benzema.

The Spanish midfielder commited a stupid, dumb (insert adjective here) close to Real Madrid's box. The whole team was praying for Cazorla to miss, but he put the ball right in Casillas' post where Madrid's goalkeeper couldn't reach it. Real Madrid never had another goal scoring opportunity.

It is obvious that the referee had a lot to do with today's outcome. But the referees have also helped Real Madrid in other matches.

Real Madrid now faces Villarreal this Wednesday at El Madrigal. The submarino sacked his coach today and is in a very tough situation, but they are still a big threat. While at the start of the season, leading in the 27th game with an eight-point margin would have been desirable, this game was frustrating to watch, both for the fans and the players. Now the team needs to recover from the draw and learn from their mistakes.

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