Saturday evening witnessed a lot of drama at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium as Real Madrid took on Almeria. Six goals, a missed penalty kick, and a red card all contributed to give the match a thrilling aspectâ€¦
Cristiano Ronaldo had his first home start in all competitions since September 30 and he was out to feed the fans with a satisfying performance.
Real Madrid scored first through Sergio Ramosâ€™ well-timed header from Cristiano Ronaldoâ€™s cross after 30 minutes. The Spaniard celebrated with pirouettes but his joy and those of the entire squad and home supporters didnâ€™t last for too long.
Despite heading in the dressing rooms with their noses in front, Real Madrid came out in the second half with less creativity and Almeriaâ€™s Fernando Soriano quickly punished Los Blancosâ€™ poor defense with a 57th minute deflected strike.
Things got worse for Real Madrid when Kalu Ucheâ€™s blistering and low drive shot beat Iker Casillas to found the back of the net just after the hour mark. Suddenly, the visitors Almeria were in the lead â€“ much to the anxiety and the surprise of Real Madrid.
Time was running on and the score line remained 2-1 to Almeria with thirty minutes of normal time still to be played. Meanwhile, the need to clinch all three points against the visitors was imperative for Real Madrid who entered the match being five points behind Barcelona.
In the 72nd minute, Gonzalo Higuain responded with an excellent goal which leveled the score line. Minutes later, it was Ronaldoâ€™s turn to put Real Madrid in the lead for only the second time in the match. After being pushed by Almeriaâ€™s defender and somehow hassled down by the goalkeeper, Real Madrid were awarded a penalty that all the same appeared to be controversial.
Cristiano Ronaldo took the kick but the ball was impressively parried away by Almeriaâ€™s goalie Alves. However, substitute Karim Benzema was there to slaughter the ball on the rebound and save Cristiano Ronaldo from his blushes.
But the former Ballon dâ€™Or winner didnâ€™t join in the celebrations of Real Madridâ€™s third goal and he told Marca afterwards:
“Iâ€™m human and I can make mistakes also.
“I reacted instinctively, and Iâ€™ve already apologized to my team-mates.
“I am a perfectionist. But the good thing is that Karim [Benzema] scored.”
The Portuguese superstar felt the embarrassment of missing his penalty kick and with match being almost over he was still looking to redeem his name.
Amazingly, his moment arrived two minutes later when Gonzalo Higuain provided a cross for Cristiano Ronaldo to tap the ball home from close range. His shot beautifully sent it into the roof of the net.
At his relief, Cristiano Ronaldo removed his shirt in celebration as he ran towards the home crowd; he subsequently received a booking for pulling off his jersey.
And the night didnâ€™t only finish with a goal on his return to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. In the dying minutes of the game, Cristiano Ronaldo kicked out at Almeriaâ€™s Ortiz in response to the defenderâ€™s apparent arm-in-face gesture. Ronaldo was therefore flashed a second yellow card and thus a red.
He calmly walked off the field of play, knowing that heâ€™ll miss Real Madridâ€™s next La Liga match against Valencia.