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La Liga, Cordoba vs Real Madrid: Match review (1-2)

Ancelotti's men played one of their worst matches this season but somehow snuck out with a win.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The match started off unbelievably poorly for Real Madrid before the players could even break a sweat as Sergio Ramos made contact with his hand on a shot inside his own box. Nabil Ghilas stepped up calmly and converted the penalty kick. Just like that, Madrid was behind 1-0 and Cordoba was flying high with an added boost of momentum in front of a ravenous crowd.

Madrid looked to get back into it but the quality of play was still shaky and too frenetic. Poor passing, no runs made by the attackers, defense leaking like a sieve, though Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema were clearly willing to put in a strong shift to force the comeback. Cordoba seemed content to sit back and hit Madrid on the counter and it was working as Madrid's defense provided little to no resistance and would've been punished harder had Cordoba been blessed with better finishers. Things looked terrible until a 27th minute corner by James Rodriguez was guided by Bale into Benzema's path and the Frenchman corralled and toe poked it in to equalize. 1-1, even though Madrid didn't seem to be in it.

Cordoba, at this point, formed a strong defensive unit punting away balls once they've won them and Madrid had trouble creating quality chances. A late opportunity in the first half saw Bale 1-on-1 with the keeper following a Rodriguez pass but the Welshman was flagged offside and the first half petered out to a 1-1 standstill.

The second half started with no changes from either side and the play was tepid at best with little chances being created. In the 55th minute, Madrid's defense was caught sleeping as Fede Cartabia had a clean look but unfortunately his shot just sailed high and wide and just one minute later Iker had to dive low to make a save on another good look. Play stagnated again for a while and Asier Illarramendi came in for Khedira in the 63rd minute. Madrid dodged a colossal bullet in the 68th minute as Varane backpassed to Iker only for Florin to chip it over the keeper's head and hit the bar. The 71st minute saw Marcelo taken off for Fabio Coentrao. Madrid's first shot of the second half didn't come until the 75th minute as Kroos took his chances from outside the box, though it was saved relatively comfortable. Benzema also had a massive shot in the 78th minute but was saved by Carlos' fingertips, drawing a sigh of relief from the home fans. Jese came on for James in the 79th minute as Carlo looked to throw the kitchen sink at Cordoba, even though it was Fausto Rossi with a great shot soon after as he took his chances on a game-winner in the 81st, though his shot fizzed just high.

Calamity reached its maximum as Ronaldo was shown a straight red in the 82nd minute for stupidly lashing out at a Cordoba player. Honestly, there was no excuse for his actions or his incredibly poor play today. However, fortune smiled on Madrid as a Bale free kick on the edge of the box hit Fede in the hand in the box and Bale converted the penalty to take a 2-1 lead. Madrid held on for dear life in the remaining few minutes and took a hard-fought three points with them.

Let's be real here. We can take relief that this is three points in the bank but virtually nothing, outside of Benzema and Bale's play, is to be celebrated today. Had Cordoba had slightly better finishing, Madrid could've been blown out and blown out early. Now with Ronaldo's looming suspension for acting like an utter idiot, Carlo is going to have to figure out something early to navigate through the rough waters ahead. He did it last season with the formation switch, he's going to have to do it again.

On to the next one.

Update: Ronaldo has already publicly apologized for his red card:

"I apologize to all and especially to Edimar for my reckless act in the match today."

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