No Surprises in Real Madrid's lineup here: Pepe is shown on the bench here after being substituted during the first half for Garay in what appears to be a serious injury.
-We start the game with news that Barca have won their match vs. Espanyol 1-0 over a questionable penalty call. We REALLY need the points now.
-Iker Casillas' Red Goalkeeper's jersey looks good!
0:05 - Real Madrid do a good job of winning the ball early in the game.
1:10 - Lass is positioned very high, trying to intercept the ball at their half, very near their goal... same pattern as our previous matches. We'll need to watch out for their counters though
2:15 - Clattering tackle from Ramos on Marchena! Get some of that!
3:44 - Great exchange from us to attack Valencia's goal resulting in a counter that Casillas rushes onto.. is this going to be the story of the night? Being subjected to waves and waves of counters?
5:35 - Valencia looks snappy with their passing too. Offside call on their attack saves us
6:48 - Xabi Alonso gets a yellow for deliberate handball. We saw him get carded for that same reason in one of the last 2 games.
7:40 - Shit. Valencia look very dangerous when on attack, They show us their own brand of pressuring, Lass to lose it close to our box
8:05 - Hernandez shoots! Whew! Miss!
10:17 -It seems clear that Van Der Vaart needs to bring something extra in this game if we're to win it.
11:32 - We lose the ball before we can even get to their goal. We need to have some definition to our playwhen on attack.
13:10 - Benzema seems to be on the left wing.... why is that? Why can't he just stick to being in that striking role? He's clogging up the midfield.
14:45 - Pipita gets to the area... gets a cross! But Benzema is on the left wing. Get inside the box will you!?!
16:03 - Lass wins the ball off Mata just as he was about to pull the trigger!
18:49 - Marchena overshoots an overhead pass to Mata for a goalscoring opportunity again. Soon enough, one of those passes will get to us. I'm scared.
21:41 - Marcelo wins a free kick at a decent area. A chance perhaps....?
22:25 - Great cross in from Xabi Alonso! A collision between Pepe and Cesar Sanchez foils it though. Replays show that it was the Valencia keeper who was the guilty party though.
24:47 - Our first period of having possession for a good period of time. The crowd's whistles are coming down on us. We should have more periods like this to calm our nerves in this game.
26:46 - Quick turn and shot from Mata! Saved
27:00 - Benzema shoots on a counter... hits the side netting. Wh does he keep insisting to shoot from such a tight angle?
28:37 - Someone should beat Marchena with a bat! He gets tapped by Benzema and falls to the ground asking for play to be stopped to get Madrid to stop play. WTF!?!?!? I he's going to since on the gorund like that, someone whould beat him so he can really lie on the gorund and wince like that!
30:30 - Mata is called offside on a great goalscoring chance. He didn't look offside to me.
34:04 - More rough & tumble stuff. Mata wins a free kick though... nothing happens for them.
35:15 - Yellow Card for Mathieu. What a nasty tackle on Benzema
38:30 - Here's a thought: we need more definition with our play when we reach their side of the pitch - we seem to go stale once we're at the edge of their box.
38:58 - What a chance for Higuain! He gets the ball, shifts the ball to his right foot, but could not replicate his goal against Almeria. Uff!
41:28 - Marcelo gets a shot that goes way over. The buildup play between Lass and Pipita saw Pipita going forward but unable to pick out a pass for Benzema. Haaaaay!
42:43 - Great play from Xabi Alonso resulting in Pipita getting a shot off... saved by Cesar Sanchez
43:04 - Ramos heads the ball onto the post! Higuain unable to hit the rebound in! Arrgh! Come on!!!
44:00 - Pepe is on the ground. Looks like his knee. It looks serious. Shit.
45:00 - Garay comes in for Pepe. Shit. This smells like trouble. I REALLY hope Pepe's alright.
46:12 - Banega shoots but Casillas saves comfortably
45:50 - Bad sign - Albiol fluffs a clearance to concede a corner.
47:22 - A Thought: without Pepe, we now do not have that pacy defender to track the likes of Villa & Mata.
49:09 - We lack pace. Tactically, I think we're doing alright. But we just lack that pace to hit them on the counter when there is an opening.
51:51 - Shit. Pipita just pulled up and looks like he's limping right now. He looks very uncomfortable out there. This is getting scary, I look at the Madrid bench, and can't see anyone there who can replace him.
53:43 - Pipita Scores!!!!!!!! A header off an assist from Benzema! Great 1-2 between the 2 strikers! It's 0-1 for Real Madrid! His teammates rush to him and Benzema for the great play!
54:43 - I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the Dreaded Drop in our level won't happen. Come on guys! let's hold on.
57:34 - Uff! Valencia almost scores. shit! It was Navarro. He heads it over.
59:05 - Shit! David Villa scores. It's now 1-1. A header from Mathieu's cross.
60:28 - Albiol concedes a corner. The Mestalla is bouncing, this is getting scary. Is this the dreaded drop?
61:58 - Yellow Card for Sergio Ramos for handball.
63:54 - Madrid are fighting. That's good - They're fighting the urge to be complacent. They need to. We will be 7 points adrift of Barca if this scoreline keeps up.
65:00 - Pipita!!!!!!!! It's 2-1 for us! Great play for Marcelo, running with the ball, skipping past the defenders tolay it off for his Argentinean teammate.
67:10 - Sergio Ramos does a Marchena... robbing Valencia of their momentum by falling ovr and pretending to be shot over some very marginal contact. Eat that Marchena. The announcer says 'certainly Marchena would have tobe be impressed with that' after asking '...let's see if this is serious, let's see where this is in the Marchena-scale' hahaha
70:24 - Nasty tackle by Ramos on Villa. Be careful now Sergio, I know you and CR9 are in a pretty boy club, that's ok. Don't form a brain-explosion-as-matches-end club at Madrid, please.
71:50 - Joaquin looks to come on. More pace for our defenders to deal with. Let's hope we cope.
73:31 - Yellow Card for Navarro for a late challenge on Benzema
74:09 - Raul comes on for Van Der Vaart. Good job Rafa, but do we really need Raul on? Joaquin comes on for Valencia
75:33 - Real are being compact on defense. We're really playing on the counter now. Focus guys.
77:40 - Lass takes a shot from WAY out. He shoots wide, of course.
79:17 - FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! Asleep on Defense. Joaquin makes it 2-2. Who was tracking him????
82:10 - The Mestalla is roaring again. Xabi Alonso takes a free kick..... GOAL!!!!!!! It's 2-3 for Real Madrid!!!!! It's Garay!
84:19 - Yellow Card for Carlos Marchena for pulling Benzema's shirt. I'm happy to see his ass carded.
84:41 - Granero comes on for Benzema. That moves Raul forward as the striker. Granero should solidify the midfield... I hope.
86:35 - Miguel comes on for Matheiu for Valencia. An attacking fullback to replace a fullback that has already assisted for 2 goals?
88:35 - Marcelo gets fouled. He's grown into this game. Anonymous during the first half, but he's been a livewire this 2nd half.
90:00 - It'll be another 3 minutes in this game. Let's see if we can hold on.
+1:52 - Granero gets fouled and Bruno is yellow carded for Valencia
+3:00 - It's over! It's 3-2 for us! Barca's lead is back down to 5 points. A win next week vs. Zaragoza at home will see us pile on the pressure on them to reduce the gap to 2 points.
-Let's all keep our fingers crossed on Pepe's injury status.