Real beat Mexican champs in hot Las Vegas
Fabio Coentrao of Real Madrid (L) and Jorge Ivan Estrada of Club Santos Laguna battle for the ball
LAS VEGAS, Nev. ● Real Madrid beat Santos Laguna by a 2-1 scoreline in the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium on a scorching Sunday night.
Though kickoff was scheduled after nightfall, the desert heat kept temperatures in the triple digits. Additionally, Santos played a league match (2-2 draw with Pueblo) two days earlier.
Alonso gave Real Madrid a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute with a 30-yard strike on an assist from Alvaro Arbeola. Santos Laguna tied it in the 25th minute when Cristian Suarez scored from inside the box on a nice assist from Daniel Luduena.
Khedira scored the winning goal when Santos goalie Oswaldo Sanchez lost control of a shot that eventually bounced off Khedira’s face and into the net in the 72nd minute.
Real Madrid, the heavy favorite, was challenged by the lesser known Mexican club team but used its superior athleticism to control most of the game. The announced crowd of 29,152 roared, and flashes popped whenever international superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka touched the ball, but neither player had much of an impact on the game.
”We looked strong and active. We are growing every game,” Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka said. ”This was a physical game. It was a tough game, and Santos came prepared and played well.”
Neither team mounted much offense in the first 10 minutes, but Real Madrid controlled play and eventually put pressure on Sanchez. Alonso made it 1-0 when he took a centering pass from Arbeola in the center of the field and drilled the ball into the left side of the net.
Santos Laguna stayed close by playing a physical game, and got even with Suarez’s goal. Luduena floated the ball past two defenders to Suarez, who gathered the pass and scored past goalie Antonio Adan.
Real Madrid came out in the second half with an entirely different team, while Santos Laguna kept its lineup intact.
Santos Laguna played as hard as it could, but couldn’t match Real Madrid’s power. Khedira accidentally scored the winning goal, and Adan made a nice save in the 81st minute to preserve the victory.
”It was a big honor to play one of the best teams in the world,” Santos manager Benjamin Galindo said. ”Nowadays there are no friendly games. Our team is always looking to win, and I was happy with the team’s performance.”
Real Madrid held a 22-4 shots advantage and an 8-2 edge in shots on target 8-2. Real Madrid also had seven corner kicks, compared to none for Santos, and had the ball in its possession for 60 percent of the game.