|First Division - Day 21|
Málaga 1 - Real Madrid 1
Contreras; Josemi, Litos, Fernando Sanz, Roteta; Gerardo, Romero, Miguel Angel,
Musampa (Zárate 75'); Darío Silva, Dely Valdés (Canabal
Team changes: Málaga: No change / Madrid: No change.
Real Madrid fought back to save a point with a 1-1 draw at Málaga and maintain their lead at the top of the first division. Both sides were unchanged from their previous match, with Del Bosque once again putting out what has become his first choice line up and Peiró also repeating the side who drew at Betis after the top sporting body CEDD suspended a four match ban on Gato Romero which had been imposed earlier in the week for supposedly elbowing Valencia's Ayala in the face. For the first time in twenty years the Rosaleda stadium put up the 'sold out' notices, the visit of the Madrid stars proving to be an attraction wherever they go. However their performance this time was below par, and for much of the ninety minutes they were on the back foot as Málaga took control of the game.
Everyone was expecting sparks to fly in the battle between Hierro and Darío Silva after the Uruguayan had made some controversial remarks before the game, but in the end their encounter was fairly tame, with Hierro eventually injuring his shoulder in a tackle with Romero just before half time having to be substituted by Karanka. Neither side had much of an effort at goal until midway through the first half, when Gerardo slipped the ball through to Darío Silva, who outstripped his marker to square the ball across for Dely Valdés to score. It was the Panamanian's first goal in eight games, but he has a reputation for getting goals against the Merengues, having now scored six times in eight games.
Madrid came back in the second half, with Figo and Makelele getting a grip in midfield, and Morientes eventually levelled the scores heading home a long cross from Roberto Carlos. A great tackle by Josemi prevented Morientes from getting another near the end, and Casillas had to turn a Litos header away for a corner soon afterwards. Both managers settled for a draw though, and made late substitutions as time ran out. With Sunday's games to come, Madrid are ensured of top spot, now three points clear of Alavés (who played earlier in the day and have a game in hand to come midweek) and five ahead of Bilbao, who they play in the cup next Wednesday.