Raul, the all time leading scorer in Champions League Football

Raul, the all time leading scorer in Champions League Football

Raul and Robben scored three times to bring the group stage of the Champions League to a close with a win against Zenit St. Petersburg.

Fantastic night for Real Madrid. At last, we won a match with some margin though it was not against the greatest side in the world. Fc Zenit looked jaded and lost. They didn’t know what to do during the game, may be the magnitude of the occassion got to their players, I don’t know. All I know is that Real Madrid won and that is all what counts, in the end.

It has to be said that the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story. Real Madrid’s defence was again poor, it was just that Zenit’s attack wasn’t poor, it was horribly poor. They came to the Bernabeu and tried to play the “You play and we play” strategy and when teams do that, there are not many that can stay with Real Madrid.

Real Madrid are awesome going forward, it’s just that they are poor and disorganised while defending. Fc Zenit did not put men behind the ball and tried to counter Real Madrid’s attack with little strategy.

On the other hand, Juande Ramos’s side, looked very comfortable and smooth on the ball. Real Madrid looked great going forward. Robben was the man of the match. He took on all comers on many occassion and many of the defenders just did not have an answer for his trickery.

To be fair. Fc Zenit had plenty of chances to atleast get as draw out of this game but so did Real Madrid, to even score 3 more goals. Higuain messed up a gloroius opportunity when he and Robben ( I think) were two on one against the goal keeper. How did Higuain scuffed that chance, I don’t know.

First Half

Real Madrid were in a dire need or a morale boosting victory to head into next weekend’s clash against Barcelona (after we lost 3-4 to Sevilla at home). Juande Ramos had very little time to settle into Real Madrid and he should thank his lucky stars for having such a weak opponent in his debut game as in charge of Real Madrid (also that there was virtually nothing riding on this match as Real Madrid couldn’t possibly have topped the group).

Real Madrid played a very attacking game right from the start. Higuain and Marcelo had several chances in the first ten minutes and Fc Zenit’s goalkeeper made some important saves. Juande Ramos clearly did not impose any of his ideas on Real Madrid players (for this match atleast) rather Real Madrid was playing the way it always has. Poor in defence and strong in attack.

While Schuster was in charge, I had the impression that the players were forced to work a bit too hard, with no just reward, for whatever reason, that is another debate.

Anyway, Real Madrid increased the velocity of their attacks. Robben, now a completely fit Robben, showcased histalents withthe ball at his feet. That’s the Robben that Mourinho wanted in his side because when Robben is fit (let alone on song) he is a quite a player to watch.

On the 25 minute mark Raul scored from a Van Der Vaart cross (which ended up into the hands of the keeper and but he spilled it right into the path of on rushing Raul, who netted in a messy goal).

I was relieved to see Real Madrid taking the lead (for once). In most of the previous matches, Real Madrid conceded too early in the game which really hurt everyone.

Real Madrid kept on creating chances and over whelmed Zenit with their style and pace. Real Madrid went into the break, leading by a single goal.

Second Half

Juande Ramos brough Metzelder on for Van Der Vaart and put him at right back. May be he was experimenting for the El Clasico game. He also put Salgado as left back and Marcelo in the middle of the park. Man!! that is alot of experimentation, for a single match atleast.

52 minutes Robben was served a brilliant long ball and flicked it over the Russian keeper and into the back of the net. Seven minutes later, the Dutchman magically connected with the captain, who calmly chipped in over Malafeev’s head (59′).

Robben with a neat and cheeky finish

Robben with a neat and cheeky finish

Second goal, was absolute class from Arjen Robben, he got a superb through ball from Raul (I think) andtooktwobrillianttoucheswhichboughthim