Real Madrid 2 – CF Valencia 0


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Argentina World Cup midfielder ANGEL DI MARIA of Real Madrid, employed up front as an out-and-out striker for the La Liga contest with Los Che, is shielded from the ball by CF Valencia’s Spain U-21 international midfielder JORDI ALBA (28) at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in the capital city of Espana. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images)
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LA LIGA
Matchday # 14
12/4/2010

2 – Real Madrid ——————— Ronaldo 73′, 87′
0 – CF Valencia

The absence of a goal-scoring striker and two suspended defenders mattered little in the end as REAL MADRID rebounded from last week’s shellacking in La Liga at the hands of its arch-rival and subsequent loss of top spot in the table to blank visiting CF VALENCIA 2-0 and remain second in the Spanish Primera Division.

With Argentina World Cup striker GONZALO HIGUAIN still out with a back problem (and expected to be for some time, perhaps even two months), Real Madrid’s first-year Portuguese manager JOSE MOURINHO changed his formation and fielded four true midfielders while Argentina World Cupper ANGEL DI MARIA, who has been deployed on the left in a three-man attack most of the season, started as one of two strikers up front.

CF Valencia, holding at fifth place in La Liga this season but already qualified for the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League this spring, was forced to send out its third choice to stand between the sticks in front of 70,000 spectators at the Spanish capital city’s famed Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

39-year-old CESAR SANCHEZ, the once-capped Spain international veteran, has been out since early November; 26-year-old deputy MIGUEL ANGEL MOYA, who was bought from Real Mallorca for 5.0 million Euros — a fairly pretty penny for a goalkeeper — in June of 2009, had to come off in the first half of the 6-1 UEFA Champions League Group C win against Turkish club KD Bursaspor in late November.

Enter 23-year-old VICENTE GUAITA for CF Valencia, making his third career start ever in La Liga; a year ago, Guaita was in the Spanish second division, out on loan and first choice for Recreativo de Huelva.

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Germany World Cup midfielder SAMI KHEDIRA (4) of Real Madrid, still in seach of a first goal for the Spanish club since his summer transfer from Bundesliga club Vfb Stuttgart, see his shot turned aside by third-string CF Valencia goalkeeper VICENTE GUAITA (13) at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images)
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One way or another, Guaita, with a little help from his defenders, managed to keep Real Madrid off the scoresheet throughout the first half and on past the hour mark.

Spain World Cup reserve winger JUAN MANUEL MATA, a product of the Real Madrid youth system who had a season with nursery club Castilla in the second division before transferring to CF Valencia in the summer of 2007, tested his teammate in South Africa this summer, World Cup champion goalkeeper IKER CASILLAS, in the early going.

Another from Real Madrid’s youth factory, 25-year-old Spain international striker ROBERTO SOLDADO, a signing from CF Getafe costing 10.0 million Euros this summer, had his chance in the first half, as well, but could not bring off his attempt at a Marco van Bastenesque over-the-shoulder volley.

The turning point in the match arrived in the 65th minute with the dismissal of 33-year-old veteran Spain international midfilder DAVID ALBELDA for a second yellow card offense.

Not too long afterwards, Germany World Cup midfielder MESUT OEZIL, who had been denied by Guaita with a first half free kick, released Portugal World Cup striker CRISTIANO RONALDO in the box on the left and the planet’s most expensive player made no mistake to give Real Madrid the 1-0 lead in the 73rd minute.

Argentine midfielder TINO COSTA and Soldado had chances to equalize but found Casillas up to the task of maintaing Real Madrid’s advantage.

Ronaldo then added his second in the 87th minute to end all resistance run his record to 16 goals in 14 La Liga games for Real Madrid this season.

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Germany World Cup midfielder MESUT OEZIL (23) of Real Madrid, who leads Los Blancos with six assists in La Liga this season, skillfully controls the ball in front of CF Valencia’s Argentine midfielder TINO COSTA, acquired from French Ligue 1 club HSC Montpellier for 6.5 million Euros this summer, at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images)
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REAL MADRID : Casillas ; Marcelo, Albiol, Pepe, Arbeloa ; Khedira (Benzema 54′), Xabi Alonso, Oezil (Granero 76′), L. Diarra ; Di Maria (M. Diarra 83′), Ronaldo

CF VALENCIA : Guaita ; Alba (Miguel 62′), Stankevicius, Ricardo Costa, Bruno ; Albelda, Maduro, Joaquin (Aduriz 81′), T. Costa, Mata (Banega 69′) ; Soldado

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(Juan Medina/Reuters)
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(Victor R. Caivano/AP)
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MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

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