First Division - Day 12

Real Madrid 1 - Recreativo Huelva 0

Madrid: Casillas; Miguel Torres, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Sneijder (Van der Vaart 65'), Gago; Higuaín (Saviola 79'), Guti, Drenthe; Raúl (Bueno 85'). 4-2-3-1.
Recreativo: Riesgo; Iago Bouzón, Morris, Beto, Casado; Javi Fuego, Jesús Vázquez; Sisi (Aitor 76'), Camuñas, Akalé (Ersen Martín 51'); Javi Guerrero (Adrián Colunga 66'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Madrid: Miguel Torres, Pepe, Sneijder, Drenthe for Cannavaro, Heinze, Javi García, Van der Vaart / Recreativo: Casado, Javi Fuego, Camuñas, Akalé for Poli, César Arzo, Aitor, Adrián Colunga.

1-0. 39. Sneijder. Shot from outside of area which deflected in off boot of Beto.

Yellow cards: Casado 30', Vázquez 45', Marcelo 47', Bouzón 89'.

Real Madrid returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Recreativo, although it was not enough to convince the home fans who whistled their players off at the end. After a string of poor results, club president Ramón Calderón had offered a €120,000 bonus to each man if they could win the next five games. But they started badly, Camuñas bringing a good save out of Casillas and then putting another chance over the top early on.

Sneijder had a goal disallowed soon afterwards though, referee Muñiz Fernández ruling that the ball had gone out of play before Higuaín crossed in, and Raúl headed another chance wide. And a few minutes before half time Sneijder picked up a short pass from Guti and fired in a long shot which took a deflection off Beto to fly over the head of Riesgo and in to the net.

Akalé came close to equalising when he shot just wide of the post on the stroke of half time, Vázquez wasted another chance soon after the restart, and Pepe was lucky to be let off a penalty appeal when the ball hit him on the arm. Higuaín and Raúl tried their luck after that to no avail, and Riesgo did well to get a hand to Guti's header and then block Saviola's follow up late on.

The result was in doubt though right up to the final whistle, and many fans left the ground early, disappointed with their team. Villarreal's defeat means they still move up to second, but they now have a difficult month ahead, with fixtures against their four closest rivals. Recre have problems of their own though, the defeat leaving them further down in the drop zone after eleven games without a win.