Real Madrid 3-2 Club América
Mourinho’s unexpected 4-4-2 formation to start the match saw Canales in attack with Benzema and Cristiano and Pedro Leon glued to the wings, but Canales and Ronaldo on several occasions switched positions and it was the Portuguese who would join the Frenchman as the most advanced player.
Real Madrid’s game plan was quite obvious during the opening minutes of the match. Players relentlessly chased the ball and pressured the opponent. Once the Whites had the ball in their possession, they would send it to one of the two wingers or cross it from one flank to the other. It was a perfect reflection of what had been worked on during training.
Already wearing the number ‘7’ shirt, Cristiano Ronaldo had the first scoring opportunity of the match but Ochoa managed to clear with difficulty. Real Madrid had clear control of the game, while America hoped to pull the upset by way of counterattacks. Benzema could have given the Whites the lead 15 minutes before halftime, but his header struck the crossbar.
A brilliant combination between Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Canales resulted in the first and best goal of the match. The ball was stolen in an advanced position, Cristiano curled it into the box and Benzema lifted his head and passed to an unmarked Canales, who tapped the ball into the back of the net. A goal that combined speed and precision and did justice to what had been seen on the pitrch.
The second half began with several new faces on the turf as Higuain, Granero, Diarra, Drenthe, Adan, Di Maria and Nacho came on for Canales, Benzema, Pedro Leon, Marcelo, Juanfran, Gago and Dudek. The game plan was still the same as Granero filled in for Canales and ‘Pipita’ replaced Benzema. The changes, however, resulted in some players not covering their positions and Esqueda capitalized for America. The Mexican side advanced and on a counter took the lead with a goal by Sanchez.
Having to come from behind, Higuain pulled Real Madrid level by beating Navarrete on his first touch of the ball. Real Madrid loosened up and regained control. With ten minutes left on the clock, Cristiano Ronaldo struck gold off a set piece and sent the 47,000 spectators into a frenzy. With the game in the bag, Mourinho brought in youth teamers Tebar, Alex and Morata for their few minutes of glory.
CLUB AMERICA: Guillermo Ochoa (Navarrete, 45′); Armando Sanchez, Oscar Rojas (Martinez, 85′), Aquivaldo Mosquera (Treviño, 59′), Adolfo Rosinei (Juan Carlos Silva, 64′); Daniel Montenegro (Sandoval 36′), Enrique Esqueda, Pavel Pardo, Matias Vuoso; Vicente Sanchez (Marquez, 85′), Israel Martinez.
REAL MADRID: Dudek (Adan, 45′); Juanfran (Nacho, 45′; Morata, 84′), Pepe, Garay, Marcelo (Drenthe, 45′); Gago (Diarra, 45′), Lass (Tebar, 69′), Canales (Granero, 45′), Pedro Leon (Di María, 45′), Cristiano Ronaldo (Alex Fernandez, 84′); Benzema (Higuain, 45′).
0-1, min.34: Canales
1-1, min. 53: Esqueda
2-1, min. 61: Vicente Sanchez
2-2, min. 63: Higuain
2-3, min. 80: Cristiano Ronaldo
Played at: Candlestick Park, San Francisco
Referee: Mr. Jair Marrufo