First Division - Day 25

Real Madrid 4 - Racing Santander 1

Real Madrid: Casillas; Michel Salgado, Pavón, Rubén, Roberto Carlos; Makelele, Flavio Conceiçao (Guti 67'); Figo (Solari 80'), Raúl, Zidane; Ronaldo (Portillo 46'). 4-2-3-1.
Racing: Lemmens; Coromina, Moratón, Juanma, Neru; Nafti, Diego Mateo (Benayoun 46'); Pineda, Javi Guerrero, Txiki (Regueiro 46'), Bodipo (Ismael 37'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Madrid: Rubén, Makelele, Figo for Iván Helguera, Miñambres, Cambiasso / Racing: Pineda, Bodipo for Munitis, Benayoun.

1-0. 13. Figo (penalty). After Ronaldo pulled down by Juanma.
2-0. 44. Zidane. Headed into roof of net from close up following Figo cross.
2-1. 48. Nafti. Shot from outside of area which took a deflection off Rubén.
3-1. 77. Portillo. Took square pass from Raúl to shoot past Lemmens.
4-1. 87. Guti. Ran on to ball from Zidane to lift shot over Lemmens.

Real Madrid made sure of holding on to top spot early on with a 4-1 win over Racing Santander in the first match of the weekend. Despite their important European tie with AC Milan midweek, Del Bosque didn't rest any of his key players, Ronaldo and Pavón both making the side after passing late fitness tests. Helguera was out with an injury though, and B team youngster Rubén had to play despite nursing a broken hand, with César Navas on stand by on the bench.

Racing president Dmitiri Piterman turned down an invitation to sit in the directors' box and took his usual place on the dugout alongside manager Chuchi Cos. He was missing his star player Munitis though, who was out with an injury and couldn't play against the club who still pay part of his wages.

After an early attack by Racing in which Casillas had to keep out Javi Guerrero, Madrid took control. Zidane tested Lemmens with a free kick, and a few minutes later the keeper pushed away a Raúl header. The ball fell free though in front of goal, and referee Mejuto González awarded a penalty when Juanma pulled down Ronaldo as he moved forward to try and score. Figo converted the kick, his seventh penalty of the season, and the European Champions appeared to be well on the way to extending their unbeaten home record to 46 league games.

For a few minutes though Racing looked like getting back, with Casillas saving from Bodipo and Mejuto turning down an appeal for a penalty when Rubén put in a hard tackle on Diego Mateo. But Ronaldo sent out a warning sign when he headed against the bar, and Zidane added a second goal on the stroke of half time with a rare header from a quickly taken Figo free kick.

With a two goal cushion Del Bosque pulled off Ronaldo to bring on Portillo, but within four minutes the visitors got back in the game when Nafti's long shot took a deflection off Rubén's heel to catch Casillas wrong-footed. The young keeper had to make an excellent one-handed save later in the half from Moratón's header to keep his side ahead, but eventually Portillo calmed the fans' nerves with a third goal after Raúl presented him with an easy tap-in.

Then with three minutes to go Guti made it four with an excellent shot into the top corner of the net after Raúl stepped over a square ball from Zidane, and the gauntlet was there for Real Sociedad to pick up. It was all too much for a young teenage girl, who rushed on the pitch at the end to kiss Casillas. She was bundled off though by security guards before he even had time to ask her if she came there often. He had to keep his mind on football for the big match on Wednesday.