Real Madrid attack took an enormous amount of shots against Malaga this weekend and still ended up with a 0-0 draw thanks to a brilliant display from Malaga goalkeeper Kameni and some not so great finishing by Real Madrid attack.

Real Madrid against Malaga:

  • took 31 shots throughout the duration of the game
  • had 27 chances to score a goal. Took none
  • took 12 corners.
  • had 63 percent possession with 91 percent pass completion rate

So why did Real Madrid end up with a 0-0 draw?

Ronaldo frustrated vs Malaga

Let’s have a look at how Real Madrid attack performed against a rigid Malaga defense.

Jesse Rodriguez

Jesse frustrated against Malaga

Start the match with much intensity. Took on defenders and fired away two great shots from the left hand side of Malaga penalty box by cutting inside (very similar to a peak Ronaldo).

Jesse needed to impress Benitez and the dribbles he did with the ball early on in the game were top notch.

His work ethic, as always, was solid as he tracked back several times to right back position to help out Carvajal in the rate moments Malaga attacked on the break.

From scrambling on defense to super fast runs on the wings, it looked like Jesse was back to his Mourinho-era best.

Until, it didn’t look like Jesse was back to his best. On a rare occasion in the first half when he did get to run, he ran super fast but lost control of the ball just at the moment the crowd started to get behind him.

His inconsistency, even during the period of a single game is the reason why he cannot be considered for a starting position in this Real Madrid squad.

Jesse injured himself against Malaga

After a long ball from Isco to Jesse, Jesse put in a beckham ball into the box from the right wing to Benzema who shot wide. But moments later when he did have time and space on the right wing near the penalty area, he couldn’t make a simple cross into the box.

That sums up Jesse. Great one moment, ordinary the next.

He did get hacked down by Torres (Malaga defender, not former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres) which seemed to have knocked some sense into him to not hold onto the ball for longer periods of time.

Later, after being involved in a good one two pass move with Benzema on the left, he needlessly did three step overs on the right to finally put in a week cross into the box.

Jesse pace and agility allows him to be a player who can’t go silent for long stretches of time and he was at it again on the wings.

After some good dribbling on the wings, he put in another cross from the right wing supposedly for Isco on the far side before it was interrupted by a Ronaldo header who later complained of the cross being too heavy.

In the second half, the story was no different. Jesse showed blistering pace on the right flank and went past two defenders before being overwhelmed and knocking the ball out of play due to poor ball control and positional sense.

Willington (Malaga match winner central defender) tackled Jesse hard to stop him from drilling a low cross into the box from near the goal line.

Moments later, after some confusion in the penalty area of Malaga, Jesse took a shot with an unusual technique by driving the ball into the ground to bounce it off towards the goal.

The shot was pretty accurate as it flew just over the bar but at a price. Jesse injured his knee in the process.

His facial expression communicated that he was going to be out for some time now.

Kovacic vs Galatasaray

Worthy replacement for Jesse as he solidified the midfield and was involved in many attacking plays.

With no other attacking option left, Benitez brought in Kovacic for Jesse in the 60th minute and put Isco at the front.

Kovacic long balls to Ronaldo and his work ethic to run back and defend against Malaga counter attacks saved Real Madrid blushes later in the second half of the game.

Karim Benzema

He was covered by at least two (sometimes even three) defenders at all points during the game and consequently was unable to assert himself on the pitch as usual.

He did have a shot at Kameni (stubborn Malaga goalkeeper) which was ruled offside by the referee.

Benzema looking to control the ball

Had a tough time against Malaga last year as well.

Jesse had a great one two pass with Benzema which released Benzema on the left wing. Benzema foiled the move by a badly placed pass on top of the 18 yard box when Ronaldo was positioned in the six yard box for a hard low pass across the goal.

Towards the end of the first half, he cut back expertly and played Ronaldo for the goal before Kameni came out and pounced on the ball.

In the second half, Benzema best chance of scoring a goal came from a counter attack when Ronaldo’s very accurate cross to Benzema was headed wide.

Perhaps the best move of the night came moments later when Ronaldo and Benzema combined  again with, about, four one two passes between them to go through Malaga defense.

Ronaldo setup Benzema perfectly with the last touch but Benzema’s shot was a weak curler which Kameni caught with authority.

He was denied a simple header towards the goal when Ronaldo snatched it off his head with his own header (which flew over the bar) and then complained to Benzema about obstructing his leap. How many times have we seen Ronaldo do that?.

Benzema lying on the ground in pain vs Malaga

Frustrating night for everyone.

Benzema’s individual moment came after the 70th minute when he brilliantly took a half turn shot (from a central position in the penalty area) with his left foot which, again, Kameni saved.

To cap things off for the night for Benzema, his knee hit the foot of an onrushing Torres when Benzema tried to hit a volley from inside the penalty area. Initially it looked like Benzema went down for a penalty, but replays showed that he went down because he was hurt.

Overall, his most precious contribution was his constant pressure on the back two of Malaga forced them to clear the ball in haste which gave possession back to Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Even without scoring a goal (and with a bad run of games) Ronaldo was the main who looked the most likely to break Malaga on the night.

Ronaldo on the floor

His first effort was off a deflection which he couldn’t turn into a goal and then scored with a header from an offside position after Carvajal had put in a great delivery from the right wing.

Even with these chances, it was a slow start for Ronaldo.

He lost the ball during a dribble and missed an easy header to score a goal. Then fell to the ground to save his dignity I guess.

Ronaldo shoots with the left vs Malaga

Angeleri (Malaga defender) gave little room to Ronaldo to breath in but Ronaldo did manage to get a shot on goal from the top right corner of the penalty box.

Ronaldo also got a header in after which in reverse to his previous effort, he took a shot with his left foot on top right corner of the eighteen yard box which was weak.

By this time Ronaldo had become a shooting machine. He shot on sight and gave little thought to actually getting past Kameni.

Ronaldo on his knees

To be fair to Ronaldo, he was marked pretty tight throughout the game just like Benzema was.

It was a credit to his positioning ability that he managed a powerful volley from the right hand side which flew past the post after Isco had played a pinpoint lob pass to Ronaldo’s right foot from left midfield.

The best chance of the night came when Jesse played a through ball to Carvajal who put a great low central cross into the box to Ronaldo.

Ronaldo running with the ball

Ronaldo, whose technique has always held him in great stead, took a wondrous half volley from eight yards out on the left which looked destined to end up in the back of the net.

Until, it was saved by an out of this world Kameni reflex save. I won’t lie to you but when Ronaldo hit that volley I wrote down a goal in my notes observing the accuracy Ronaldo hit it with.

Kameni, somehow, saved it. Unbelievable stuff.

Ronaldo frustrated

And that wasn’t even the clearest chance Ronaldo had to score a goal. Minutes later, Isco’s, now almost trademark, left foot loopy cross had beaten all defenders and all that Ronaldo had to do was direct it into the goal from two yards out.

In a rare moment of bad decision, Ronaldo chose to head it down back into the penalty area where Wellington, unknowingly, blocked his header and cleared the ball.

Ronaldo with his hands on his face vs Malaga

By this time, it was relentless Real Madrid against Malaga. Ronaldo took several shots on goal from the right hand side but missed them both on near post and the far.

Towards the end of the game he missed a , what some might call an open goal, from an Isco pull back pass into the area.

In the dying minutes of the game, came the moment which still separates C.Ronaldo from Ronaldo.

A bullet cross from Marcelo on the left begged for the slightest of touch from a header into the goal and Ronaldo missed.

It was from point blank range and Ronaldo was probably tired but as Muhammad Ali said once:

“as in life, the true work only begins once you get tired”.

If you can believe it, Ronaldo missed another header after that in the absolute last seconds of the game. If it had been the Ronaldo of last year, he would have smashed that cross into the back of the net with his head.

Conclusion

Real Madrid’s attack did enough to win against Malaga. Real Madrid checked all the boxes.

The team played smoothly from the back and remained patient when Malaga defended with eleven men behind the ball.

Real Madrid had won five straight games before this one and hadn’t lost (still haven’t) a game since last year to Barcelona.

Ronaldo sitting on the field vs Malaga

Conversely, Malaga hadn’t (and still haven’t) won an away game since last May. Their only serious chance of the game was from a free kick.

The only time they put Real Madrid under any pressure was in the second half when it was chaos in Real Madrid defense as it was caught on the break. Nacho and Varane blocked several shots to keep Malaga at bay.

Drawn matches like this one come down to one or even half a bad decision by the referee. This match was no different.

Ronaldo dejected vs Malaga

In the last few minutes, Real Madrid finally broke through Malaga defense when a neat dinked ball found Modric behind the defense and all he had to do was square the ball to one of the three Real Madrid attackers who had lined up for an open goal.

He did square the ball and most certainly, a Real Madrid attacker (a certain number 22 by the name of Isco) did put the ball in the back of the net.

But no, the linesman saw it otherwise and called it an offside while subsequent replays showed otherwise.

The draw meant that Real Madrid moved to third place behind Barcelona (2nd) and Celta Vigo (1st) in La Liga standings.

HALA MADRID!!!