Although last Tuesday's game at Dortmund was not good, it seems that Real Madrid's qualification to the Champions League semifinals has resulted in an increase in the team's morale. Knowing that our rivals from FC Barcelona had lost their game in Granada, our players entered the field full of energy and proving their strong will to beat Almería. The starting lineup was not the best, since we had the important absences of Carvajal, Ramos, Marcelo, Alonso and Ronaldo, but their substitutes did a more than good job.
Real Madrid's good performance in the first minutes must be thanked, mostly, to Ángel Di María. The Fideo, who was unlucky to miss a penalty kick in Dortmund, showed that he is fully recovered from his gastroenteritis and did more than enough to be forgiven by the fans. Three shots in the first minutes made Esteban did his best to avoid Real Madrid's first goal, but there was nothing he could do to block the fourth one.
Los Blancos had a few more goal occassions in the first half (again, Di María, with a direct corner kick, was the sharpest), but I was more impressed by their defensive performance. Our rivals never stood a chance to come back at us. Nacho, Coentrao, Pepe, Varane and Illarra are to be cheered today.
A flashing start in the second half served us to close the game. A brilliant combination between Bale and Benzema preceded the Welshman's goal in the 55th minute, while an extraordinary individual play by Isco led to the third goal just two minutes later.
The game was over and Ancelotti decided to give the youngsters some minutes: Casemiro, Morata and Llorente entered the field to give Di María, Bale and Coentrao some rest before the Copa del Rey Final against Barcelona, which will be held next Wednesday. Nevertheless, the team's good performance did not suffer due to the substitutions and, in fact, Morata closed the scoreboard with a great lob after a terrific pass by Illarra.
This victory, together with Barça's unexpected defeat at Granada's home, makes Real Madrid overtake FC Barcelona to tie with Atlético de Madrid in the first place in La Liga. Our neighbours will receive Getafe tomorrow, so it is not likely that they will drop points but, if we want to believe the competition is not over, we must root for Getafe and hope they'll, at least, be able to tie.