|First Division - Day 10|
Real Madrid 0 - Real Sociedad 0
Casillas; Michel Salgado, Iván Helguera, Pavón, Roberto
Carlos; Makelele, Cambiasso (Guti 60'); Figo, Raúl, Solari (Zidane 60');
Ronaldo (Morientes 70'). 4-2-3-1.
Team changes: Madrid: Pavón, Raúl for Hierro, Zidane / Real: Aranburu for Boris.
The match of the weekend on paper was the clash between the two Real's, European Champions Madrid and current league leaders Sociedad. With many big names on the park the fixture promised goals, but in the end it was the two keepers Casillas and Westerveld who came out on top as the match finished scoreless.
Raúl returned to Del Bosque's side after missing the last couple of games with a stomach upset, but Hierro was out and Zidane was carrying a knock and started the game on the bench. Real Sociedad were at full strength, with scouts from Newcastle watching De Pedro who has won back his place in the side after missing a few games through injury.
The first 45 minutes were fairly even, with both sides creating chances. Raúl headed against the post, Cambiasso got free but ran the ball into Westerveld and Ronaldo shot wildly over the bar when given space. At the other end Nihat too found the keeper at his feet when he got past the defence, and Makelele cut out another effort from Kovacevic.
By now though the visitors were starting to look comfortable, with Xabi Alonso commanding in midfield. The Madrid fans were getting restless, with timid whistles from the stands, and Del Bosque decided it was time to make changes, bringing on Zidane and Guti. At the same time Nihat had to leave the field with an injury, and in his absence the home side got back on top, with Westerveld making a point blank save from a Raúl header a few minutes later.
Even so the San Sebastian side were dangerous on the quick breaks, and Helguera had to clear off the line from Schurrer with Casillas beaten. Later on it was the turn of Kovacevic, but this time his shot from left of goal hit the post and bounced away. By now Morientes had replaced a disappointing Ronaldo, but he too was unable to find a way through, and the game finally came to a respectable end with a point each, which most commentators considered to be a fair result.
At the end of the day then, Real Madrid stay in fifth place, five points away from their opponents. This was however the second game in a row that they have failed to score at home, and they have now gone four matches without a victory in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. Most of their squad are away on international duty next week, and on Saturday they have to visit Barcelona. Another long, hard season is under way.