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Getafe - Real Madrid, La Liga 2015: Three flashes to heat up a cold winter morning (0-3)

Los Blancos had a hard time to break Getafe's defence but after Ronaldo's first goal everything got easier. Real Madrid secure the mid-season leadership with one game in hand.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid arrived in Getafe in the middle of what many people have considered a big crisis, after having been sent out of the Copa del Rey by Atlético. It was a difficult time for Los Blancos, as they are not used to playing at 12:00 CET, and it was so cold that we could even see some snowflakes dropping in the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. The initial conditions seemed ideal for a bad result that would have sounded all the alarms in Spain, but a solid and, above all, patient performance by Los Blancos, with an outstanding Karim Benzema excelling above everyone else, served them to get a crucial victory for their situation in La Liga and, most importantly, for their mood.

The lineups

Getafe: Codina; Alexis, Naldo, Velázquez, Lago; Juan Rodríguez, Diego Castro; Sarabia (Hinestroza, 56'), Sammir (Álex Felip, 83'), Pedro León (Yoda, 74'); Álvaro Vázquez.

Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo (Nacho, 81'); Kroos (Illarramendi, 81'), Isco (Khedira, 78'), James; Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.

The first half

Saying that the first half was difficult for Real Madrid would be a complete understatement. Sitting back in a 4-4-2 that looked pretty much like 5-4-1 formation at some stages, Getafe's men took advantage of the two main weak spots of the Real Madrid we are seeing lately: their lack of verticality in the midfield and their inability to steal the ball. They did not park the bus, like many teams do when they play against Real Madrid, as their defensive line was far from their own box, but there were always two many men between the ball and their goal when Real Madrid had the possession, as James and Isco usually received it very close to Toni Kroos and our centerbacks.

The main drawback of this setup by Getafe was that they could not counterattack fastly enough to seriously concern Casillas, and this is the main reason why a sloppy and slow Real Madrid had the better chances in the first half, with a mid-distance shot by Marcelo, one by James from the penalty spot after a brilliant individual action by Benzema, and a fantastic shot by Kroos from the top of the box that hit the crossbar just before the break.

The second half

Despite knowing that the victory was mandatory, Carlo Ancelotti was patient and decided to face the second half with the same approach and no substitutions, although some tactical adjustments made Los Blancos show a more fluid game with the possession, as Bale and Ronaldo started to switch wings frequently and also Isco and James exchanged their positions quite often as well. With five shots in the first fifteen minutes, Los Blancos had been able to break Getafe's defence but their goalkeeper Codina, with a fantastic performance, blocked all of their attempts on goal.

But in the first time Real Madrid were able to run, the game was over. Cristiano Ronaldo, from the right, ran past two Getafe's defenders and put a nice cross into the box. The ball finally arrived to Benzema, who eliminated the first defender with his great control and, later, with a one-two that reminded me of Michael Laudrup's favourite move, made the second and Codina hit the floor. Ronaldo only had to push it to get the first and decisive goal.

Getafe tried to come back and this made them lose the game three minutes later, as Real Madrid were able to counterattack and finish the game. A fantastic cross by James Rodríguez from the left found Gareth Bale inside the box, who gently put it inside the goal. Around the eighteenth minute, another banana from James was headed by Ronaldo, who got his 28th goal in the league.

With this victory, Los Blancos have earned the right to have a peaceful week in which, hopefully, many people will forget about the so-called crisis and will let them work towards the important league games to come. Right now, Real Madrid is four points ahead of FC Barcelona, who visit Riazor to play against Deportivo, and seven points above Atlético, who receive Granada, still with one game in hand.

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