Madrid Rescued In Frankfurt, By Robinho

Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 Real Madrid

Madrid recovered from a poor start to seal a second-half equaliser thanks to Robinho in front of a packed house at the Commerzbank-Arena...

As friendlies go, this one was said to be important. A replay of the historic 1960 European Cup final - "that" 7-3 win for Madrid - saw the slightly unsettled blancos head east to meet an Eintracht side eager to impress the home support ahead of this weekend's Bundesliga kick-off.

What the Adler supporters saw was a fine start from their team that culminated in an early goal and a fairly straightforward first half, albeit one greatly aided by FYR Macedonia international 'keeper Oka Nikolov.

However, when Madrid boss Bernd Schuster made a raft of half-time substitutions, the game quickly turned in his side's favour, allowing Robinho to level the scores at 1-1. The merengues probably should have sealed the win, but in the end they can complain little about a draw due to their own careless start.

First Half

With some of Germany's most vocal fans out in numbers, Eintracht started in style. Very few clear-cut chances presented themselves for either side, but it was abundantly clear from Madrid's deep defending that Eintracht had the upper hand.

Indeed, they managed a goal just ten minutes in, and once again this pre-season the Madrid defence were found wanting. Pepe, who closed last season so strongly, fluffed a headed clearance off the bar and into the path of Bellaid, who converted with ease at the far post with a header of his own to give his side the lead. Both the Portuguese stopper and Iker Casillas could perhaps have done more.

Madrid tried to hit back almost immediately through Van Nistelrooy and Raúl, but in fact defensive midfielder Diarrà came closest to levelling with a spectacular strike which Nikolov did brilliantly to keep up.

The game became bogged down in fouls in midfield all too often, and even as Madrid began to come back into the game they lacked cutting edge. Despite having the mastery of Guti, Van der Vaart and Robben at their disposal the final ball was too often lacking.

When the likes of Robben did play in a fine cross, Chris and the Eintracht back line were able to clear, and only defenders had clear chances: Torres and Pepe both fluffed chances when they should have done better, and thus a goalless half for Madrid was inevitable.

Second Half

The tide had slowly begun turning in Madrid's favour already, but half time changes accelerated the process. Robinho, unsettled, and Baptista, said to be on the way to Roma, entered the game, as did Metzelder at the back and De la Red in defensive midfield, the latter coming on for the impressive Diarrà.

Perhaps due to a stern team-talk Madrid upper their intensity considerably, although the end product did not immediately come. Indeed, it allowed Eintracht the chance to counter ten minutes after the restart, only for Amanatidis to fall at the moment of truth.

Nikolov, though, was fast emerging as the star of the show. Just before the hour mark Rafael van der Vaart played a wonderful cross from a free-kick to Sergio Ramos: the defender seemed certain to score, only for the Macedonian to pull off another excellent stop.

Still, as more substitutions came he couldn't hold back the tide, and Madrid duly equalised. Robben teed the ball up for Javier Saviola, who in turn ghosted through the defence before passing to Robinho, who put in a simple finish from close range.

Higuaín, on for Van der Vaart, had a claim for a penalty after colliding with Nikolov soon afterwards, but the referee waved his protests away. At the other end, Salgado's poor clearance very nearly cost Madrid a goal as the game ended in nervy fashion.

In the end, though, the game ended 1-1, with Nikolov the definite man of the match after keeping Madrid at bay for the second period. Robinho in the second half and Diarrà in the first gave Schuster reason to be cheerful, but he knows that the blancos' game must be raised one notch further before the weekend's Supercopa clash with Valencia.

1-0 Bellaid 10'
1-1 Robinho 71'

Eintracht: Nikolov; Ochs, Russ, Bellaid, Spycher; Chris, Steinhöfer, Inamoto, Toski; Liberopolous, Amanatidis.

Real Madrid: Casillas; Sergio Ramos (Salgado 65), Pepe (Javi García 78), Heinze (Metzelder 46), Torres; Van der Vaart (Higuaín 65), Diarrà (De la Red 46), Guti (Baptista 46), Robben; Raúl (Savilla 65), Van Nistelrooy (Robinho 46).

Yellow Cards: Torres 85'

Madrid Rescued In Frankfurt, By Robinho Reviewed by admin Ucop on 11:15 PM Rating: 5

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