Real hit back to beat Zaragoza
Real Madrid bounced back from their Copa del Rey exit by maintaining their momentum in La Liga with a come-from-behind 3-1 victory over bottom club Real Zaragoza at the Bernabeu this evening.
Jose Mourinho's side, who were knocked out of the cup by Barcelona in midweek despite a battling 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp, headed into the weekend five points clear of their fierce rivals at the summit but went behind to Angel Lafita's 11th-minute opener.
However, Kaka equalised just after the half-hour mark and Cristiano Ronaldo put the hosts ahead at the start of the second period before Mesut Ozil sealed the turnaround. The result moved Real Madrid provisionally eight points clear at the top, ahead of Barça's late kick-off at Villarreal.
Karim Benzema had half a chance in the seventh minute when he connected with Ronaldo's cross, but he could only send a weak header wide. Zaragoza took a surprise lead four minutes later when Luis Garcia's quick free-kick played in Carlos Aranda, who crossed for Lafita to beat Iker Casillas from close range.
Real immediately set about getting back on level terms, Esteban Granero blasting over the bar and Benzema seeing an effort blocked by Maurizio Lanzaro. Kaka went close to restoring parity in the 26th minute from Ozil's free-kick, but his neat flicked header drifted just wide.
The Brazilian playmaker had another chance soon after when Marcelo's cross from the left teed him up in space on the penalty spot, but he lost his footing and skewed his shot wide. Kaka did get his side back on level terms in the 32nd minute, though, squeezing his shot past Zaragoza goalkeeper Roberto after being played in by Ricardo Carvalho down the left side of the penalty area.
Ronaldo flashed a free-kick wide in the 36th minute as the hosts looked to forge ahead before the interval.
Real go ahead
It was not to be, but the home fans were celebrating the second goal within four minutes of the restart as Ronaldo tapped home Mesut Ozil's cross from the right.
Seven minutes later it was 3-1, Ozil applying the finish by lashing a left-footed shot past Roberto from a tight angle after a slick build-up involving Granero and Kaka. Real Madrid strolled through the remaining 34 minutes without looking in any real danger of relinquishing their lead.
Casillas had to be alert though to parry a Luis Garcia corner, and the Spanish keeper then looked on as attempts from Luis Garcia and Lafita flew off target. Helder Postiga burst through in the 71st minute and got his shot away well under pressure from Carvalho, but the Portuguese was denied by Casillas.