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3-min read

Real Madrid rally to defeat Zaragoza 3-1

Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil all got on the scoresheet for the hosts.

test sharma | Agencies

Updated:January 29, 2012, 9:12 AM IST
Real Madrid rally to defeat Zaragoza 3-1
Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil all got on the scoresheet for the hosts.

Madrid: Real Madrid survived an early scare against Zaragoza to come back and earn a comfortable 3-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday evening, with Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil all getting on the scoresheet for the hosts.

Zaragoza started well at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and Angel Lafita gave the visitors a shock lead on 11 minutes after some slack defensive play from Los Blancos, yet Kaka got his side back on level terms in the 32nd minute. The home side were 2-1 up not long after the break when Ronaldo scored from close range, before Ozil completed the scoring with a powerful finish in the area to decide the game.

Madrid have won nine of 10 league home games this season, with their only home loss to Barcelona in December. And while Barcelona have dominated their head-to-head meetings with only one loss over the past three seasons, Madrid are proving to be the more consistent team in the league.

Even so, Kaka wasn't completely happy with his team's showing.

"We can't always have to rally to win and concede so many goals both home and away," Kaka said about his Madrid who haven't kept a clean sheet in 10 straight home games overall. "These are things that we can improve."

After the strong display in the second leg of their losing Copa del Rey series with Barcelona, Madrid coach Jose Mourinho opted again for an attack-minded starting 11, with the rarely-used Esteban Granero and Kaka in midfield behind Oezil and scoring pair Karim Benzema and Ronaldo.

Mourinho, who had been jeered last weekend for his team's defensive tactics in their first-leg defeat to Barcelona, was applauded during the pre-game introductions. The Portuguese manager, however, sent assistant Aitor Karanka to the post-game press conference.

Madrid started sluggish but forged the first opportunity of the game in the sixth minute when Ronaldo's precise cross into the box was inexplicably headed wide of goal from four yards out by Benzema.

Five minutes later, Madrid found themselves a goal down after some poor defending as Zaragoza grabbed an unexpected lead.

Lafita, who netted a double in Zaragoza's 3-2 surprise win at Madrid last April, redirected recent signing Carlos Aranda's short cross into the back of the net as the visitors caught Madrid a step slow.

"Their goal was our fault," Granero said. "We should have been more aware."

In the 26th minute, Mourinho's men came close to an equaliser from a set-piece. Oezil whipped an inviting ball into the box, which was met by Kaka's flicked header that narrowly crept wide of the top corner with goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez at full stretch.

Madrid dominated possession as they looked for the equalizer, which came through Kaka in the 32nd. He ran onto Ricardo Carvalho's excellent throughball down the left side of the area, took a composed touch and then slotted under Roberto.

A determined Madrid side went ahead for good in the 49th when Granero played Oezil wide on the right flank, and the Germany midfielder placed a cross behind the defence for Ronaldo to tap in and take his league-leading tally to 24 goals.

Seven minutes later Mourinho's team extended their lead with another well-executed team goal. Granero and Kaka both linked up impressively before the Brazilian found Oezil inside the left side of the box, who gave Madrid a two-goal cushion in the 56th with a left-footed rising blast for his first league goal of the season.

Leading the La Liga standings, Mourinho's side are now seven points clear of rivals Barcelona, who were held to a goalless draw later in the evening by Villarreal, while Zaragoza remain bottom after extending their winless run in the league to 13 games.

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