09.04.2011 » At. Bilbao 0-3 Real Madrid. CR7 starts on the bench but scores again
A second string Real Madrid, without Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Marcelo and Adebayor in the lineup, started the game against Athletic Bilbao. However, the "Merengues" put on a show and outclassed Athletic Bilbao with a tremendous win by 0-3, in one of the most problematic fields to play in Spain.
Real Madrid played as if their lives depended on this Saturday and proved once again that this squad’s pride has no limits. With a lineup very different from the usual, a lot of changes were made by José Mourinho, who attempted to rotate the key players for the upcoming decisive matches in April and May. Real Madrid took San Mames by storm and gave a true tactical lesson which granted them an easy 0-3 win.
Gonzalo Higuain was the front man in attack and was supported by both Kaká and Esteban Granero in the midfield. Pepe played as a defensive midfielder, a position which isn't totally strange for him since he played several times in that role for the Portuguese National Team. The lineup stunned Atheltic Bilbao coach, Caparros, who looked on with a blank stare as Athletic Bilbao had no answer for Real Madrid movements on the field during the first half. Angel Di Maria was fouled in the box by Iraizoz around the 12th minute and Kaká buried the spot kick to give Real Madrid the lead. Both players kept pushing the tempo and created many chances througout the game. Gonzalo Higuain could have ended with the game, just before the half time, but the goalkeeper prevented another goal. In the meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo started warming up and was expected to join the game in the second half, which meant José Mourinho's side would become a lot stronger to play in counter attack.
Athletic Bilbao pressured a bit more after the restart, but Real Madrid's defense kept strong and Fernando Llorente didn't seem to be a big menace. The offense looked to beat the back line with Angel Di Maria's speed and Kaka's talent, but specially with Cristiano Ronaldo runs, who joined the game with just a few minutes played in the second half. Angel Di Maria provoked another penalty on the 53th minute and the Brazilian successful scored the second goal from the penalty mark.
Cristiano Ronaldo stepped in for Gonzalo Higuain and just eight minutes after taking the field, CR7 received a long ball along the wing, run with it into the box, feinted past Athletic Bilbao's defender, San Joseand, and curled in low drive shot to the far post. San Mames fell silent as Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his 29th league goal of the season and 40th in all competitions.
It was then just a matter of letting the time run out, as Real Madrid slowed the tempo to save energy for the crucial weeks coming up. Athletic Bilbao continued trying their luck, but had no chance of beating Iker Casillas, who was barely tested and menaced during the entire game. All attentions are now turned to Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League match in London, against Tottenham Hotspurs and next Saturday’s "Clasico" against Barcelona, in the Santiago Bernabéu.
Remember that you can watch Tottenham vs Real Madrid livestreams, online here on ronaldo7.net, this Wednesday. Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to play.