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22.01.2012 » Real Madrid 4-1 Athletic Bilbao. Far from easy, despite the final score

Cristiano Ronaldo dedicating his goal for Real Madrid, to his girlfriend, Irina Shayk, in the Santiago Bernabéu, 2011-2012

Real Madrid hosted Athletic Bilbao in the Santiago Bernabéu and managed once again, to turn around a 1 goal disadvantage upset. The Merengues would end beating Athletic Bilbao by 4-1, with goals from Marcelo, Cristiano Ronaldo (2) and Callejón.

Real Madrid bounced back from last Wednesday's loss against Barça, with a 4-1 home win against a brave Athletic Bilbao side. Despite what the final scoreline might indicate, the game was certainly far from being easy. Athletic took the lead during the 1st quarter of the game, but the Merengues once again, proved they are capable enough to make a remontada in style. Cristiano Ronaldo, who added another brace to his stats, broke another all-time record in La Liga, as he became the highest goalscorer ever, when accounting only the 1st season half of the Spanish League. With the two goals scored tonight, the Portuguese star now has 23 goals out of 19 games, beating the previous 22 goals record, also obtained by himself last season, Messi this season and Barcelona's former forward, César, in 1950-1951.

Cristiano Ronaldo game photos in Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao
Real Madrid 4-1 Athletic Bilbao goals and highlights:

Cristiano Ronaldo running and being pulled, in a Real Madrid game against Athletic Bilbao, in 2011-2012

And so it was, Real Madrid took the 3 points in another important game for La Liga, and holding the 5-points lead over Barcelona. However, those who didn't watch last night's game might misjudge what happened in the Bernabéu and believe it has been like a walk in the park. Very far from an easy task actually, as the early goal disadvantage near the 13th minute proved to be, after a pure counter-attack play, finished with class by the giant Fernando Llorente.

For a few moments, some of the "Madridismo" feared we could be in the presence of a "shockwaves effect" from the Clasico, as Real Madrid had just conceded the lead to their opponents and Marcelo Bielsa's side was actually playing better and creating good opportunities to score. For numerous occasions, Athletico Bilbao found plenty of space to exploit in Real Madrid's defense and the 0-2 has been very close to take place. The Merengues gave a 1-week rest to Pepe, in order for the Portuguese defender to clear his mind after what happened in the Clasico against Barcelona last Wednesday (an over aggressive conduct on Lionel Messi), so Mourinho knew his side was taking some risks when going forward with Sergio Ramos and Varane in the center of the defense.

Marcelo celebrating goal for Real Madrid, in 2012

The Merengues reaction would finally have an impact on the scoreline when the clock ticked the 25th minute, after a great set-up from Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, which the Brazilian left-back Marcelo, seized to score, making the equalizer. There wouldn't be any more goals before the break, even though the game kept open, with both teams proving to have enough firepower to take the lead at any point of the match. There was still time for a peculiar incident though, as in the 29th minute, Cristiano Ronaldo fouled an Athletico Bilbao player from behind, being shown the yellow card for such action. Ronaldo then disagreed from the referee's decision and as he was waving in protest, he received a little shove from his teammate, Xabi Alonso. The Portuguese player didn't seem to appreciate it that much and turned back to stair at Xabi Alonso for a few seconds, doing it with a very surprised look. You may look at the incident in the video below:

Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso touching hands, after their disagreement in the 1st half, in Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao, for La Liga 2011-2012

Real Madrid returned to the 2nd half with the clear intent of changing the course of events really quick. José Mourinho's half-time talk had an immediate effect and a great combination in the first Merengues attack, ended up with Kaká being pulled, when already inside the penalty-area. The refree, Mateu Lahoz, had no other choice but to point to the penalty spot, granting Cristiano Ronaldo the chance to put his team on the lead, for the first time on the night. As usual, the Portuguese star didn't hesitate and blasted a powerful kick, completing the remontada.

Besides putting Real Madrid in front, Ronaldo's goal somehow also calmed down the nerves from an impatient Santiago Bernabéu crowd and allowed Real Madrid to slightly improve their game. In the 66th minute, Mesut Ozil got tripped inside the penalty area and the referee immediatly pointed to the 12 yards spot again, even though Karim Benzema fired to the back of the net just a couple of seconds later. Mateu Lahoz would also show the red card to Athletic Bilbao's midfielder, Óscar de Marcos and once again, Cristiano Ronaldo beat Iraizoz, choosing exactly the same side from his previous penalty-kick. This was the 23th goal from Cristiano Ronaldo in this La Liga season, which actually sets a new all-time record when concerning the highest goalscorer ever in a Spanish League first half. With 19 games played (half of the season total of 38), Ronaldo holds the lead on the Pichichi table, with Barcelona's Lionel Messi right behind him with 22 goals, after having scored an hat-trick earlier today, in the Blaugrana's 4-1 away win against Malaga.

Cristiano Ronaldo goal from a penalty kick, in Real Madrid 2012

With Athletic Bilbao already powerless to keep the pressure on Real Madrid, the Merengues would apply the final blow close to the end of the game, in a fast play finished by Callejón. Regarding the scoreline, the match wouldn't add anything else noteworthy, but there was still time for an unusual and awkward moment though. With less than 10 minutes left to be played in the game, Real Madrid more extreme and radical supporters/fans, Ultras Sur, started chanting José Mourinho name in the stadium, which immediatly triggered a very audible whistling from the rest of the crowd. This notorious "negative" relationship between Mourinho and Real Madrid own fans took place due to what "Marca" published this Sunday, on their front cover. The Spanish newspaper reports an alleged discussion between José Mourinho, Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas, on which a few harsh words have been exchanged. As it has been usually in "Marca", the exact sources are yet to be mentioned, but the ability this truly big newspaper has in manipulating the public opinion and destabilize any club, seems to already have had an effect in a signigicant number of Madridistas. We expect to cover this special incident more deeply in the upcoming days, so stay tuned with us!

Cristiano Ronaldo hugging teammates, in Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao

Real Madrid line-up vs Athletic Bilbao:

Goalkeeper: Casillas
Defenders: Marcelo, Varane, Sergio Ramos, Arbeloa
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso, Granero, Ozil, Kaká
Attackers: Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema

Match stats provided by
Real Madrid
Athletic Bilbao
Shots on goal
Corner kicks
Fouls commited
Yellow cards
Red cards
Ball possession

After the weekend's victory against Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid will now face again Barcelona, for the Copa del Rey 2nd leg, in the 25th of January, 2012. You can watch Juventus live stream, Barcelona vs Real Madrid and Liverpool vs Manchester City from our soccer live streams section. Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be on the line-up against Barcelona, next Wednesday.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona kick-off time (25-01-2012):

Jakarta (Indonesia) | GMT+7: 04:00
(Madrid) | GMT+1: 22:00
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | GMT+0: 21:00
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | GMT-2: 19:00
New York (United States) | GMT-5: 16:00
Los Angeles (United States) | GMT-8: 13:00
Beijing (China) | GMT-8: 13:00

Sources: /

Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick stance, in Real Madrid 2011-2012

Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Granero and Marcelo, celebrating a Real Madrid goal in 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo holding the ball on his hand and protesting at the referee

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