This was one of the most important games of the season for Real Madrid. Bernd Schuster knew that this was the game that they absolutely had to have if they planned to revert the results of the past couple of weeks both domestically and in Europe. Schuster knew that they had to win, but his team played like they didn’t want to lose. Maybe when they arrived in Valladolid they misinterpreted their coach’s message- not something unusual in the past few weeks.
Reports were coming in from the Madrid media stating that the former German international had officially lost his players- especially Raúl.
Real Madrid played one of their poorest matches of the season for the first 75 minutes. If there was any doubt, Madrid is in as much a crisis as the American economy is in a recession. The team does not respond on the pitch to any challenge that their opponents give them.
Valladolid was suffocating throughout all of their lines. They gave a pallid Madrid less space and even less ability to perform the way they could. Let’s not doubt it, Madrid is going through a great deal of trouble on both ends of the ball and things got worse as soon as Fabián Canobbio put Valladolid on the board. The home side was able to hold on when their goalkeeper stepped up in a big way. When Madrid decided to play, they threatened and took the ball away. That led to very important opportunities that if cashed in, would have given the game a different look. Madrid looked to get bailed out by that last minute performance, but it would not be this time around.
Asenjo came up huge, stoning Raúl and saving two shots in a row that had equalizer written all over it. After that barrage ended, Madrid seemed helpless and it showed when Gabriel Heinze was sent off in the 88th minute.
Worst of all for Schuster, the shadows of Miguel Ángel Portugal and Michel begin to loom even larger. There could be one more opportunity for Madrid to save Schuster and possibly their short-term success if they can get a win against BATE Borisov in the Champions League. If that match comes up negative (loss or draw) then Bernd Schuster could kiss job adios.
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