Spain

Malaga 3-2 Real Madrid

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Santa Cruz: Bagged a quick-fire brace

Santa Cruz: Bagged a quick-fire brace

Roque Santa Cruz scored twice as Malaga beat Real Madrid 3-2 to send the reigning champions into the winter break in turmoil.

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Jose Mourinho and his future have been in the headlines in recent months and, after a poor display on the Costa Del Sol on Saturday night there will only be further questions.

The Portuguese tactician dropped goalkeeper Iker Casillas and although his replacement, Antonio Adan, did little wrong that only served to unsettle the side and Malaga took full advantage.

The hosts played some lovely football in the first half and Adan made a couple of fine saves to deny Isco early on, while Pepe and Sergio Ramos were being called upon far too often for their own liking.

At the other end Cristiano Ronaldo was enduring an off night as Madrid struggled to create.

All the goals came in an electrifying second half with Malaga's young star Isco breaking the deadlock just four minutes after the restart with a lovely shift and hit that left Adan grasping thin air.

Mourinho and co thought their luck had changed when they levelled in fortuitous circumstances just after the hour.

Karim Benzema saw a shot blocked before shovelling the rebound across goal where it deflected into the net off the unfortunate Sergio Sanchez, who was facing the opposite way.

However, Malaga were not to be denied and two goals in the space of four minutes swung the balance their way.

On 73 minutes, Santa Cruz followed up swiftly to convert after Adan had denied Isco and then the on-loan Manchester City striker found himself in far too much space as he drove a low shot inside the near post just three minutes later.

A swift Madrid counter attack ended with Mesut Ozil finding Benzema for a tap-in as the champions threatened to steal a late point, but it was not to be.

Los Merengues now find themselves 16 points behind Barcelona, and seven behind Atletico Madrid, as they enter the winter break.

Meanwhile, Malaga, despite their financial troubles, find themselves in fourth spot - just two points off tonight's opponents.

Posted: 22/12/12 21:18

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