Real claim unconvincing win

Goals from Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria, Michael Essien and Luka Modric gave Real Madrid a 4-0 home victory over Real Zaragoza.

As Jose Mourinho's men looked to close the gap on table-topping Barcelona, it was no surprise to see them dominate in the early exchanges.

Cristiano Ronaldo almost opened the scoring inside 10 minutes with a close-range header, but it was actually the away team who came closest to netting first. Helder Postiga, inside the area, struck a low shot at Iker Casillas' goal, but the Spain captain was alert enough to push the shot away.

Los Blancos then started to assert their dominance, and scored after 23 minutes. A Modric corner found the head of Raul Albiol. The former Valencia man forced a great save out of Roberto, but Higuain was there to pounce on the rebound.

And within two minutes, they had doubled their lead. Di Maria's initial shot was parried by the goalkeeper, but the Argentine winger got to the second ball quickest, and slotted it into the back of the net with a first time finish.

Despite those few flourishing minutes, the capital club remained stilted in possession and struggled to create any other clear-cut chances before the break.

After the break, still Manolo Jimenez’s men continued to frustrate the home team. Paco Montanes and Apono were proving particularly troublesome, and it was the former who almost pulled one goal back – his shot from the edge of the area was struck with venom, but Casillas pulled off an acrobatic saved high to his right.

When the Madrid goalkeeper was eventually beaten though, Jose Mari’s fierce effort struck the crossbar and ricocheted away.

A thunderous Ronaldo free-kick almost added a third, but Essien eventually did right at the death, as a pass from Karim Benzema found the Ghanain, who slotted home from inside the area for his opening Los Blancos goal.

On the stroke of full-time, Modric scored his first goal for the club as well with a low drive from the edge of the box, to give Real Madrid a comfortable, if unconvincing win.

Real Madrid 4-0 Real Zaragoza

Scorers: Higuain 23 (RM), Di Maria 25 (RM), Essien 89 (RM), Modric 90 (RM)

Real Madrid: Casillas; Ramos, Pepe, Albiol, Arbeloa (Nacho 82); Modric, Essien; Ronaldo, Ozil, Di Maria (Callejon 73); Higuain (Benzema 69)

Real Zaragoza: Roberto; Sapunaru, Alvaro, Loovens, Abraham; Movilla, Apono; Montanes, Jose Mari, Rodriguez (Alamo 75); Postiga (Aranda 79)

Tags Di Maria Higuain