First Division - Day 33

Recreativo 0 - Real Madrid 0

Recreativo: Luque; Espinola, Loren, Iker Begoña, Pernía; Javi García, Viqueira (Oscar Arpón 86'), Camacho, Benítez; Mario Bermejo; Raúl Molina (Xisco 62', Quique Romero 78'). 4-4-1-1.
Real Madrid: Casillas; Michel Salgado, Hierro, Pavón, Roberto Carlos; Miñambres (Solari 64'), Makelele, Guti, McManaman; Tote (Flavio Conceiçao 70'), Morientes (Portillo 75'). 4-4-2.

Team changes: Recreativo: Mario Bermejo for Oscar Arpón / Madrid: Pavón, Miñambres, Tote, Morientes for Iván Helguera, Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo.

Goals: None.

Real Madrid lost their top spot in the league for the first time in ten weeks after they were held to a 0-0 draw at Recreativo Huelva. Del Bosque was missing his star attack, with Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo all injured and Raúl not quite fit yet after his appendix operation, and Tote was surprisingly brought in for his first league appearance this year to partner Morientes up front. The decision was a blow to Portillo, who was probably paying the price for complaining too much that he had not been given enough opportunities this season.

Neither of the two front men managed to find a way through a tight Recre defence in the opening minutes though, Morientes failing to control the ball when given a half chance and Tote trying a fancy "rabona" back-heel flick when a simpler shot would have been more effective. Raúl Molina had an early strike ruled out for offside and had another shot blocked by Casillas on the stroke of half time, and Bermejo also tested the keeper either side of the break.

Both sides ran out of steam in the second half, especially after Recre lost Raúl Molina who was carried off with what looked like a rib injury after clashing with Casillas. Xisco came on to replace him, his first appearance after a long lay off, but he aggravated his old injury and had to go off as well a few minutes later. There was a worried look on the face of Lucas Alcaraz, who must have been wondering how he was going to cope for the rest of the season if the injuries prove serious. His side drop back to the bottom three, although they are level on points in a three way tie with Osasuna and Alavés. The draw was a blow too to Madrid, but at least they know that their front men have rested and will probably be back (Raúl included) for the midweek Champions League tie with Juventus.