In an exciting match from beginning to end, Real Madrid got the better of Malaga and escaped with a 6-2 victory.
The contest had a plethora of goals, two red cards, a missed penalty kick and a major milestone to make this one of the more entertaining battles of the La Liga season.
It only took three minutes for Real Madrid to get on the board first. Luka Modric took advantage of a corner kick and set a perfect cross for Raul Albiol to head it in and take the 1-0 lead.
This was the defenseman's first goal of the year in any competition, but it came at a good time for his club.
However, that lead did not last long, as Roque Santa Cruz got the equalizer for Malaga in the 15th minute. The forward got a great opportunity to tip it in off a corner kick, and he made sure he put it on net.
Of course, the biggest moment in the match occurred at the 22nd minute. Malaga defender Sergio Sanchez earned a red card for committing a foul in the box on Cristiano Ronaldo. While the talented forward missed the penalty shot, he more than made up for it with the man advantage.
In the remainder of the opening half, Ronaldo had a goal and two assists to give his side a nice advantage heading into intermission.
The goal came on an indirect free kick inside the box, and it was a big moment for the superstar's career (via Soccer.com):
Vitorino Antunes also scored in the first half for Malaga to keep the score close, but it was not enough, as it was 4-2 after the opening 45 minutes.
The second half was all about Real Madrid, as Luka Modric extended the lead with a score in the 52nd minute. The club then controlled the ball without allowing many more opportunities on the defensive end before leaving with a 6-2 victory.
With the win, Real Madrid stands eight points back of Barcelona in La Liga with three matches left to play. The squad keeps its rival from clinching victory, although a comeback is unlikely.
Malaga remains in sixth place with 53 points on the year, but it is still within striking distance of Real Sociedad for the No. 4 spot.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid: A+
While he did miss the penalty shot, which is rare for the talented scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo did pretty much everything else you could ask for in this win.
The forward was aggressive with the ball and forced the defense to make a lot of mistakes. He drew fouls and cards and simply gave the opponent fits all match.
In addition, he was a great distributor and found teammates Karim Benzema and Mesut Ozil with the ball and allowed them to get goals of their own.
Considering Ronaldo also scored his 200th goal in the process, this was a fantastic performance.
Luka Modric, Real Madrid: A
He opened the match with an early assist and put the score out of reach with an impressive goal from distance. Those plays alone make this a great showing for the midfielder.
However, Luka Modric was solid throughout the match. He was solid defensively and pushed the attack on offense, giving his side the opportunity to score as many goals as it did.
Plus, he helped Real Madrid maintain possession through most of the match with great passing, and he was a big part of the squad's success.
Sergio Sanchez, Malaga: D
During the year, Sergio Sanchez has not been a consistent performer for Malaga, only starting in 14 league matches including this one. It would be surprising if he got more opportunities in the future after Wednesday's performance.
The defender played only 21 minutes before being removed on a red card. He was in poor position and made a bad decision to try to make up for it with a foul.
As a result, Malaga had to play a man down for the majority of the match. Against a dominant offense like Real Madrid, this is not a good situation to be in.
It is tough to guess what would have happened if he stuck around, but he was a big reason for the loss.
|Ángel Di María (65')||A|
|Gonzalo Higuaín (68')||B|
|Roque Santa Cruz||A-|
|Carlos Kameni (42')||C|
|Oguchi Onyewu (76')||B|
|Manuel Iturra (27')||B-|
Real Madrid still has an outside chance at winning La Liga, but it will need to win each of its final three matches. The first of which will come on the road against Espanyol on Saturday.
However, the squad has a much better chance to win a trophy on May 17. It faces Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey finals after topping Barcelona in the semifinals.
Malaga will try to play much better the next time out against Sevilla FC on Sunday. After that match, the club only has two more contests remaining in the season.