Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Irún puts Real Madrid in intensive care

The word crisis, whispered in the last few weeks, has now reached a crescendo at the Bernabéu, as Real Madrid were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by a third division side. A repeat of the 4-3 weekend scoreline was not enough to subdue a Real Unión de Irún squad that ran rampant for large stretches of the game, as if the venue or their opponents were of no consequence. Not even a hat-trick from captain Raúl was enough to bring his half-dead team back to life.

The first half was symptomatic of everything that ails Real Madrid at the moment. This is a side split in half to such an extent that they seemed at times to have completely abandoned the midfield to the opposition. It's not just that the defenders are sometimes slow to react and badly positioned, there is just no support from most of their team-mates.

But the lack of players tracking back to defend was also in evidence when the team had the ball. It's not in Real's genetic make-up to play long-ball football, but that is exactly what the local crowd were treated to for most of the first forty-five minutes.

Raúl, the busiest player by far on the night, acted as link-up man, even though he was nominally one of the two strikers, the other being Saviola. This seemed to change in the second half as Sneijder dropped back more often, but just exactly what are Schuster's tactical instructions at the beginning of the game? Asking Metzelder to make runs on the left wing was a first, and what Real gained in attack they more than lost on defence.

The visitors went ahead through Abasolo after 13 minutes, after Salgado failed to deal with a cross on his wing and left Dudek with little chance of making the save. It took a mistake from Eduard, the Irún goalkeeper, to allow Real to equalise, with Raúl easily heading the ball over the advancing goalie after a cross from Marcelo.

Saviola could then have put his side ahead but his goal was disallowed on the stroke of half-time when he was clearly on-side. That was the linesman's fault, but someone needs to take the referee aside and explain to him how to apply the advantage rule, though his failures in this respect affected both sides equally.

Schuster swapped Cannavaro for Javi García during the break for no apparent reason, other than the Italy captain was not having a very good night - but then, neither were any of his colleagues in the back four. Three minutes in, García and Metzelder were not fast enough to catch Salcedo,though it must be said, they had precious little support from any of the midfield players, who were all far too far upfield.

Fortunately for Real, Irún's lead lasted just over a minute, as Raúl got his second after Saviola's pass had found him free in the area.

With the game at 2-2 fifteen minutes into the second half, Schuster brought Alberto Bueno on for Drenthe. The player from the Castilla reserve side only had two minutes on his debut in the first leg in Irún. The promising youngster impressed with his energy and talent and went on to score the goal of the night to put his side ahead and even the tie.

Raúl then thought he had put his side through five minutes from time with his third of the night from a free kick intended as a cross which none of the other players got a touch on. It was the first time all night that the home side was mathematically in the last 16 round of the Copa del Rey.

In a heart-stopping finish to the game, Real Unión took advantage of yet another defensive blunder to score their third in the 89th minute and put Real out of the competition on away goals.

Real Madrid have shown all season that they have the talent up front and the self-belief to enable them to claw their way out of adverse scorelines. However, this is a side so unbalanced on the pitch that any team with a modicum of tactical nous can control the game at their leisure. We haven't seen Bernd Schuster do anything to remedy this over the last few weeks and, as he admitted in the post-match press conference, it's now looking like he doesn't know how to.

7 comments:

Madridista Mac said...

"Real Madrid have shown all season that they have the talent up front and the self-belief to enable them to claw their way out of adverse scorelines. However, this is a side so unbalanced on the pitch that any team with a modicum of tactical nous can control the game at their leisure."

Very well said. I've commented (in my blog) that for all the talk that has focused so much in getting a new winger and striker, no one has talked enough about how easily this team concedes goals.

You are right to use the word 'Crisis'... I fear that we are well and truly headed that way.

Anonymous said...

The talk here is that if Schuster doesn't produce a win (not sure if that means a last gasp claw back or a decent display, he's out) and I'm afraid to say that even though it's going to be another period of instability for the club, I think might be needed. I don't know what you guys think. Schuster didn't once get up from the bench and gesticulate and just sulked in the shadows. Apparently he didn't even go in at half time which I can't believe!! It doesn't look like he has the tactical nous to exploit the cards (albeit unbalanced) he has been dealt and most other managers are outranking him tactically, leaving his team extremely predictable. The only good thing was the chance to see Bueno play (golazo) all Madrististas like to see players from the cantera come through.

Gonzalo said...

Don't forget that the Annual general meeting of socios is now set for December 7th. There are a lot of rumours going round that there would be a lot of opposition to the accounts, which, if they're not approved, could trigger Calderón's resignation.

He may want to avert such a revolt by firing the coach for the recent bad run of results. On the other hand, he pretty much hand-picked Schuster and got rid of Capello, so he has a lot of personal reputation invested in Bernd.

The fact that Schuster seemed little affected by what was happening on the pitch speaks volumes about what is happening inside the club - or it may just signal the fact that he has given up.

David said...

I just don't like the idea of firing the coach at this time of year. If we get knock out of the CL in the first stage and if the results continue like this then its fine. But right now we're only two points from the top and (hopefully) on the brink of qualification in CL.

By firing Schuster now and gambling on some inexperienced coach to turn us around will be a huge mistake imo. You have to look no further than last season's Valencia to understand that.

tracey said...

Can someone translate this please?
From Cassano:

"En Tarragona me tuvo Capello todo el segundo tiempo junto a Ronaldo. En el vestuario me acerque a él y le dije que era un hombre de m... y que era más falso que el dinero del Monopoly".

RealMadridSolucion said...

Nosotros pensamos que la solucion la puede estar empezando a promover una web: http://www.realmadridsolucion.com

Vamos, que podemos!!!!!!

PASALO!!!!!

caracoleo said...

"En Tarragona me tuvo Capello todo el segundo tiempo junto a Ronaldo. En el vestuario me acerque a él y le dije que era un hombre de m... y que era más falso que el dinero del Monopoly".

Capello had me warming up for the entire second half along with Ronaldo. I went up to him in the dressing room and told him he was a piece of shit, more fake than monopoly money.

Or words to that effect.