MADRID (AFP) - Real Madrid
played out a half-hearted 1-1 draw with Real Zaragoza in
a match that many supporters would have preferred to
have been postponed in the wake of Thursday's bombings.
Real now have 61 points
from 28 games, seven points clear of their nearest
rivals Valencia, who travel to relegation-threatened
Celta Vigo on Sunday.
For the first time for
as long as anyone could remember, Madrid took to the
field at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium without any
applause, or their usual raucious vocal support, and the
solemn atmosphere was reinforced with a minute's silence
before the kick off.
The vigil was observed
absolutely, without a single voice to be heard, as the
80,000 capacity crowd paid their respects and remembered
the 200 victims of the attacks on four trains in the
Spanish capital two days ago.
Under the circumstances,
it was no surprise the match was a relatively subdued
Javier Portillo made
just his third league start for Real this season and
rose to the occasion to put the reigning champions into
the lead after 27 minutes, heading home a cross from out
on the right wing by Juanfran Torres.
Like Portillo, Juanfran
was getting a rare chance in the spotlight thanks to
coach Carlos Queiroz's decision to rest four first
choice players, including Raul Gonzalez and Luis Figo,
ahead of Wednesday's Spanish Cup final against the same
However, Madrid's lead
only lasted four minutes, until Cani Garcia sent a
corner swinging in from the left which found the head of
Zaragoza's Paraguayan international midfielder Delio
Zaragoza had several
opportunities to end Madrid's unbeaten home record this
season but Real keeper Iker Casillas again proved why he
has the gloves in the Spanish national team, and is
widely considered to be one of the world's top shot
David Villa went close
twice early in the first half and Madrid also rode their
luck when Goran Drulic hit the post three minutes before
This weekend's matches
will take place against the wishes of many players and
clubs, who felt the programme should have been suspended
despite the Spanish football federation's assertion that
such a move would be giving into terrorism.
"After what happened
football is irrelevant," said Barcelona coach Frank
Rijkaard on Saturday.
During the course of
Real Madrid's match, the news broke that five people -
three Moroccans and two Indians - had been arrested in
connection with Thursday's bombings and anti-government
chants rang out around the Bernabeu.
The Bernabeu crowd
called for the resignation of Spanish Prime Minister
Jose Maria Aznar, one day before national elections,
blaming him for Spain's support of the war in Iraq , and
for which Thursday's bombings are increasing being seen
as an act of revenge by a radical Islamic group such as