May 8, 2013
Madrid make Barca wait
#INSERT type:image caption: Cristiano Ronaldo scored Real Madrid's second goal against Malaga END#Barcelona will have to wait a bit longer before being confirmed Primera Division champions after Real Madrid destroyed nine-man Malaga 6-2 in their penultimate game at the Bernabeu.
The hosts got off to the perfect start when Raul Albiol gave them the lead after just two minutes, but Roque Santa Cruz levelled with a quarter of an hour gone.
Sergio Sanchez made his side's task a whole lot harder by getting himself sent off midway through the first half, and Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil took advantage of the man advantage by extending Madrid's lead.
Vitorino Antunes pulled a goal back for the visitors but Karim Benzema restored the two-goal advantage before the break, before Luka Modric and Angel Di Maria got involved in the scoring in the second half, while Malaga were further weakened when Martin Demichelis was shown a second yellow card late on.
Albiol was given a rare starting berth because Pepe was left out of the squad, and the Spanish centre-back took advantage of the occasion to score his first league goal for the club, rising unchallenged to head home a corner from Modric.
It did not take long for Malaga to respond.
Their equaliser, like Madrid's opener, came from a corner and was facilitated by poor defending. Isco crossed the ball in and Diego Lugano headed towards the back post, where Santa Cruz was waiting to stab the ball into the net from three yards out.
Cristiano Ronaldo could have restored the lead not long after but skewed wide of goal inside the area.
He was then presented with another opportunity to score when he was felled by Sergio Sanchez in the penalty area, which saw the defender sent off. However, Ronaldo put his penalty straight down the middle and Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero saved it with his legs.
The Argentine appeared to injure himself in making the save and was substituted before the break, but not before he gifted Madrid a third goal.
He collected a backpass from Ignacio Camacho, resulting in an indirect free-kick from six yards out, which Ronaldo smashed into the top corner of the net after a touch from Xabi Alonso, taking advantage of a very poorly assembled defensive wall.
It was Ronaldo's 200th goal for Madrid in less than four seasons since joining the Blancos in 2009.
Despite being a man down, Malaga threw caution to the wind in search of an equaliser, and Madrid took full advantage to get their third.
The visitors surrendered the ball following a corner and Modric gave it to Ronaldo, who raced through the empty space in midfield and found Ozil with a diagonal pass.
The German then rounded a defender and shot into the bottom corner to complete a brilliant move.
However, Malaga were not ready to give up just yet and a wonderful curled shot from Antunes from outside of the area reduced the deficit to a single goal.
But there was still time for Madrid to widen the gap before the end of the first half.
Modric and Alonso exchanged a number of passes before the latter played a ball into the box.
Benzema's dummy put Ronaldo through on goal with substitute goalkeeper Kameni, but the forward unselfishly laid the ball off for Benzema to pass into an empty net.
The second half was quiet in comparison to the opening 45 minutes, but the hosts added to Malaga's embarrassment through two lovely strikes, the first from Modric, and the second from Di Maria.