Ten inspired minutes from 44th minute to
the 54th- were what it took to finish off a Levante that had showed
itself to be aggressive only during the first half. The goals from
Ronaldo -2-, Figo, Beckham and Owen allow Madrid to keep the Barcelona
in perspective and prepare calmly the duel for next week in El Madrigal,
where the Portuguese player won´t be able to play due to an accumulation
of cards. In any case, Ronaldo already has already been the author of
seven goals and he´s getting closer to the pichichi (maximum scorer´s
title). There was a prize for the young Javi García, who made his debut
at Santiago Bernabéu.
With the victory of Barcelona in Getafe, Real Madrid needed of a victory
against Levante. Without Zidane, but with the return of Helguera, García
Remón´s team was going out with Celades sharing the midfield with Guti,
while Figo and Beckham were on the wings. In Levante, five defenders.
Schuster changed his system leaving on the bench Manchev and Ettien, and
protecting Mora´s net. The initial minutes proved him right because
Madrid´s players couldn´t find any cracks in the visitors´ solid defence.
There was a lack of opportunities and only the strikes from Beckham y
Sergio García raised the freezing temperature of the capital city. The
ball was in the mid-field and was not reaching either of the areas.
Rivera was controlling the centre and Levante was trying to penetrate
via the wings. On the Madrid side, only Guti was thinking vertically
trying to help Raúl, who was going down to back him up, and Ronaldo to
not go unnoticed.
The terrible blow
Schuster was happy with the strategic line-up of his team, with one
single defect, the lack of punch. He had managed it: the locals were not
hitting home with any clarity ? until Ronaldo came up. Beckham
discovered the first gap in Levante´s defence, as well as the Brazilian.
The connection ended with the first goal of the game (43th minute)
thanks to the efficacy of number 9. So far, the prize was staying at
home, but they had to round off the game in order not to find themselves
in hot water later. There was not time to suffer: in nine minutes (49th,
51th and 54th) history was written. Figo, again Ronaldo and Beckham,
finished off Levante. First the Portuguese with a spectacular strike
from the front; later, the Brazilian taking advantage of an accurate
pass from Celades that left him alone against Mora; and finally the
Englishman, who, emulating the man from Portugal, blew away the cobwebs
from Levante´s net. The game was sentenced, and three points of
García Remón was already thinking about future games and gave Figo and
Raúl a break, who were substituted by Solari and Owen respectively.
Schuster didn´t give up and changed his system, putting into play his
last offensive weapons: Ettien, Congo and Manchev. The Madrid coach
rewarded the young Javi García with his debut at the Bernabéu (74th
minute) The victory was staying at home and the distance from Barça was
maintained. Within seven days, in Villarreal, a new test.