Real Madrid see off Depor

22

Real Madrid took a small step to restoring their pride after last weekend's derby thrashing by beating Deportivo La Coruna 2-0 at the Bernabeu. Carlo Ancelotti's side made a nervous side to the game but took a 20th-minute lead through Isco, and then Karim Benzema sealed the points in the 73rd minute. Madrid stay top of the Primera Division thanks to the win but this was far from an assured performance from the European champions, who were booed by their own supporters on several occasions. In the opening minutes of the game Madrid still looked shaken from their 4-0 trouncing at Atletico the previous week, and could have fallen behind to either of two efforts from former Barcelona player Isaac Cuenca, who forced an excellent reflex save from Iker Casillas and then blasted just over the bar. But the hosts soon found their footing in the game. First Ronaldo rattled the crossbar from inside the area after receiving a cross from Marcelo, and then Gareth Bale hit the woodwork after winning the ball back near to Depor's area. Bale looked as if he had a point to prove in the face of recent criticism of his performances and was one of Madrid's liveliest players. He then laid the ball on for Benzema in the six-yard box, but the Frenchman's shot was deflected wide. With Madrid continuing to pepper the Depor area, the opener looked imminent and arrived just a minute later. Again Bale came down the right and hung a cross in for Benzema, who nodded the ball across the goal line for Ronaldo to nudge into the net, only for the Portuguese to scuff his effort. However, Alvaro Arbeloa kept the chance alive by sending the ball to middle of the area, where Isco controlled it and curled it into the far corner. Madrid began the second half as they had the first, and were again fortunate to not concede. Celso Borges hit the post in the 48th minute and then a cross came in for Oriel Riera, but again Casillas came to Madrid's rescue. Lucas Silva came on for Asier Illarramendi to make his Madrid debut and a minute later the hosts got the second goal to kill off Depor. The Galicians had committed themselves up the pitch and Arbeloa exploited the space by playing a low through ball towards Ronaldo. The Portuguese beat a Deportivo defender to possession and then squared to Benzema, who lifted the ball over Fabricio with a classy chipped finish. Ronaldo could have grabbed a third later on but sent an acrobatic shot just wide of the near post, and Madrid had to settle for just two goals, their lowest scoring home victory in the league since the opening day of the season.