|First Division - Day 10|
Real Madrid 5 - Las Palmas 1
Casillas; Geremi, Karanka (Iván Helguera 75'), Hierro, Roberto Carlos
(Solari 77'); Figo, Makelele, McManaman, Savio; Guti (Morientes 67'),
Team changes: Madrid: Karanka for Iván Helguera / Las Palmas: Orlando for Oulare.
Real Madrid got their season back on track with a convincing win against a Las Palmas side who ended up playing with only eight men. Having lost three matches in a row, including two in the league against Mallorca and Numancia and an albeit fairly meaningless game in the Champions League in Moscow, the victory puts them back up to third place in the league. Their manager Vicente Del Bosque decided to keep faith with the same side that lost in Soria, only changing Helguera at the back for Karanka, a move that upset the defender who stated in the papers later that he would ask for a transfer if he didn't get a regular first team place. Las Palmas manager Sergio Kresic also only made one change from the team that lost narrowly to Barcelona the week before, Orlando coming in for the injured Oulare.
Within fifteen minutes of the kick off Madrid were two goals up, Hierro converting from the penalty spot after a push by Baiano on Savio, and then Figo once again laying the ball on for Guti to score. The young midfielder-turned-striker has now got ten goals this season, most of which have been set up by the Portuguese winger. He may miss him next week however, Figo picking up his fifth yellow card of the season a few minutes later which means he will miss a game through suspension. After the second goal, Madrid dropped back and allowed Las Palmas to take control, and thirty minutes in Guayre pulled one back with a shot which went through Casillas's hands after taking a slight deflection off Roberto Carlos. The crowd started to get nervous, but just after the restart Hierro got his second of the night with a header from Figo's corner, and everyone relaxed. This was Hierro's 98th goal in the league, and he is one of the top all-time scorers despite playing most of his games in defence.
Twenty minutes from the end referee Pérez Lasa sent off the Las Palmas keeper Nacho González in a confusing incident. González caught the ball inside his area and slid along the wet grass, apparently stopping the ball on the line at the edge of the penalty area. However Pérez Lasa ruled that he had crossed the line and awarded a free kick, and González threw the ball down in protest and shouted at the referee. That was a mistake, and the referee immediately produced the red card and sent him off. Kresic was forced to take off a forward Orlando to put on his second keeper Cicovic, and the game effectively ended. A few minutes later Raúl added the fourth after Morientes and Roberto Carlos set him up with a triangular passing move, and Savio got the fifth five minutes from the end, once again after Figo had done the hard work.
In injury time Pérez Lasa awarded another penalty to Real Madrid as Alvaro brought down McManaman, sending off the Brazilian defender with a direct red card. With Schurrer off the field injured and all three substitutions already made, that left Las Palmas with eight men. However this time Hierro failed to score from the spot, his shot going over the bar. Seconds later it was all over, and with their close rivals failing to take advantage, Madrid were back in the top three. Las Palmas drop to sixteenth, only two points above the drop zone but also only a point below eleventh placed Valladolid. They have at least finished with the Bermuda triangle, and can now get on with their season. Next week they are at home in the all island clash against Mallorca. They need a result to get back their confidence. They will however be without González and Alvaro, both suspended for one game.