Real Madrid 1-1 Valencia: Guardado makes debut against Blancos
By Tom Webber

Real Madrid 1-1 Valencia: Guardado makes debut against Blancos

Real Madrid was less than convincing as it begun the defense of its La Liga crown with a 1-1 draw against Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu. Mexican international Andres Guardado made his debut for Los Che.

Things began promisingly for the reigning champion as Gonzalo Higuain, who was picked ahead of Karim Benzema, put them ahead after just 10 minutes. But it soon became guilty of sitting back and failing to make its ball retention count and shortly before the break Jonas restored parity.

Los Blancos were unable to regain their advantage in the second half and thus had to settle for a point in front of disgruntled and frustrated home supporters.

Madrid signaled their intent to score an early goal with an intense start that saw both Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo take shots from long-range. Neither managed to work Diego Alves but it did not take much longer for Los Blancos to find the net.

Di Maria clipped the ball up to Higuain, who had sprung the offside trap, and the striker controlled the ball exquisitely. Yet after seeing his initial and follow-up efforts saved by the keeper, the third time proved a charm as he rifled a volley into the back of the net with just 10 minutes on the clock.

Following the goal, Jose Mourinho’s men played a far more patient game but, despite controlling possession, opportunities to find the net were sparse as Valencia sat deep.

But patience soon turned to complacency for the hosts and Los Che capitalized by netting an equalizer three minutes before the break. Iker Casillas failed to clear Tino Costa’s fantastic delivery and Jonas duly headed the ball into the vacated goal. The keeper did however succeed in injuring Pepe, who was subsequently withdrawn at half time.

Mourinho’s men were unable to find the net again as the two sides shared the spoils on the opening weekend of La Liga. Mourinho will demand better finishing when Madrid faces Barcelona in the Super Cup in midweek.