Real Madrid 1 – FC Sevilla 0


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Germany World Cup midfielder MESUT OEZIL (23) of Real Madrid is fouled by FC Sevilla’s Spain international defender FERNANDO NAVARRO, signed from Real Mallorca in exchange for 5.0 million Euros in the summer of 2008, at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in the capital city of Spain. (Felix Ordonez/Reuters)
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LA LIGA
Matchday # 16
12/19/2010

1 – Real Madrid ——————— Di Maria 76′
0 – FC Sevilla

Despite the dismissal of a defender just after the hour, a soft goal in the last quarter hour carried combative REAL MADRID past a plucky FC SEVILLA 1-0 in a stormy La Liga affair with the arrival of Santa Claus less than one week away.

Having survived the stiff challenge of Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund at home in the UEFA Europa League earlier in the week, the Andalusian club traveled north to the Spanish capital ready to battle Real Madrid; unfazed by four consecutive losses in La Liga, FC Sevilla succeeded in thwarting the high-octane attack of Los Blancos.

France international striker KARIM BENZEMA, the birthday boy who claimed a hat trick in Real Madrid’s final UEFA Champions League group stage match against French club AJ Auxerre, once again failed to deliver a goal in La Liga. The newly-turned 23-year-old counts but a single goal in 15 Spanish Primera Division games this term. Benzema, who was bought for the eye-opening sum of 35.0 million Euros from French side Olympique Lyon in the summer of 2009, scored his only La Liga goal this season against RCD Espanyol Barcelona back on September 23 — well before Argentina World Cup striker GONZALO HIGUAIN went out with a back injury.

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FC Sevilla’s 37-year-old veteran goalkeeper ANDRES PALOP secures a high ball in front of Real Madrid’s leaping Spain World Cup champion fullback SERGIO RAMOS (4) at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. (Angel Martinez/Reuters)
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Meanwhile, match referee CARLOS CLOS GOMEZ was a busy man at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. In all, twelve yellow and one straight red card were shown to constestants from the two sides. Portugal World Cup defender RICARDO CARVALHO, the veteran aquired from English club FC Chelsea of London this past summer, clunked heads going for a high ball and, as a result, was shown a second yellow card in the 63rd minute. FC Sevilla, however, were not prepared to capitalize on the numberical advantage.

The ten men of Portuguese manager JOSE MOURINHO produced a winner in the 76th minute. Argentina World Cup winger ANGEL DI MARIA, purchased for 25.0 million Euros from Portuguese side Benfica of Lisbon this summer, did well to keep a deflected ball in along the goal line. Although the Real Madrid attacker was off to the side and not all that much of an urgent threat, 37-year-old veteran goalkeeper ANDRES PALOP foolishly decided to leave his cage and confront the Argentine. To further comprehend his error, the FC Sevilla goalkeeper lost track of his position with respect to the net — Di Maria quickly exploited the situation to score, from a very tight angle, his fifth goal of the year in La Liga for Los Blancos.

Portugal World Cup striker CRISTIANO RONALDO of Real Madrid was kept off the scoresheet by FC Sevilla for the first time since the capital city club’s heavy 5-0 defeat at the hands of dreaded arch-rival FC Barcelona. Nevertheless, the planet’s most expensive player boasts 17 goals in 16 Spanish Primera Division games this 2010-11 season. Ronaldo has recorded another four goals in Europe and, overall, counts 22 goals for Real Madrid this term.

With the win over FC Sevilla, Real Madrid maintain the status quo two points behind their great nemesis FC Barcelona; twenty-two La Liga games remain in the marathon that is the Spanish Primera Division campaign.

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Argentina World Cup winger ANGEL DI MARIA (22) of Real Madrid races with FC Sevilla’s French defender MOUHAMADOU DABO, added this summer on a free transfer from Ligue 1 side AS St. Etienne, at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. (Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
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REAL MADRID : Casillas ; Arbeloa, Carvalho, Pepe, Sergio Ramos ; Khedira (Granero 62′), L. Diarra, Oezil (Albiol 78′) ; Di Maria, Benzema (Leon 62′), Ronaldo

FC SEVILLA : Palop ; Navarro, Caceres, Escude, Dabo ; Konko (Acosta 78′), Zokora (Jose Carlos da Silva 85′), Romaric, Capel (Alfaro 85′) ; Negredo, Fabiano

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(Andrea Comas/Reuters)
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(Paul White/AP)
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MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

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