Madrid put its head to work. Helguera was the
first to use this part of his body to score, then it was Figo's, plus all of
Madrid's seven opportunities to head the ball into the net (Raúl, Ronaldo,
Zidane.). Madrid got all the credits for a more comfortable win, especially on
account of its play in the first half that ended up with a pretty unfair 0-1
score. But once they were back on the pitch, the home side staged some of
their best football with four targets. The qualification could have been
secured had Morientes not headed the ball into the net to cut down the lead.
The round is still open thanks to his goal. The final result in Monaco.
We saw the usual good level of Madrid in Champions League, the usual Figo (fantastic)
and the same hard luck the Whites have had over the past month. The latter is
the only explanation for Monaco's advantage by halftime. The visitors never
outplayed Madrid and did not enjoy any more chances, but they did make the
most of all the fortune that today Real was deprived of. Although Morientes'
was the most feared head at Bernabéu today (as he finally proved), it was
actually the Whites who enjoyed the most chances to score from headers (Ronaldo's
attempt brushed the post). However, none of them eventually touched the net.
Monaco's headers though did touch it, though. Having tried two long-range
shots in a couple of counterattacks that the white keeper cut off very well,
Squillaci finally sent it into the goal.
Although Madrid had been fully in command, it was Monaco that went to the
locker room with a goal in favour. Zidane had also hit the post confirming the
hard luck of Madrid. To add up to the misfortune, Raúl Bravo had to leave the
pitch with an injury right when he was doing best.
The second half began just in the same way as the first one finished, with a
header, this time round coming out of Raúl's head. Roma cleared it into the
corner with some difficulty. The Whites' fortune needed a change and it did
change in the following move. Helguera (with a header of course) hit the
equaliser to turn the Bernabéu atmosphere into the one we live in these
After this target, Madrid managed to corner its rival into its area, without
giving any break to the visitors. Ronaldo and Beckham were close to hit a goal
that was more and more vulnerable. Madrid's superiority was shown in the
possession of the ball, in the pressure in the look of the play. The following
goal came out of Zidane's feet, which received the ball from an action of Figo.
The Portuguese did wonderfully to assist Zizou, although he was to find a
reward to his good performance a few minutes later. By that time Madrid was
already like an storm on the Bernabeu pitch. He missed a penalty kick but did
not miss a header (what else could it be?) after Roma's save.
The fourth was scored by Ronaldo, who rounded off an excellent performance on
the day of his return from an 18-day leave that seemed too long to everybody).
The crowd acknowledged the contribution of the Brazilian player to the squad
when he was replaced by Solari one minute after his target. However, this was
not going to be the best ovation of the evening. Morientes, a Madrid player
who is temporarily playing in the French squad, scored a goal for the visitors
and celebrated it with a look up into the sky. It was a very thoughtful
gesture that touched Madrid followers. It was the finishing touch to a
wonderful showdown that will be continued in Monaco in two week's time. The
round will be settled there as Zidane failed to settle it in a last minute
shot that went a few inches off target. A header of course.