It was a strange day in La Liga, as Real Madrid was unable to come away with a victory against Real Zaragoza, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw.
Just before this game kicked off, Celta Vigo grabbed a late equalizer to tie Barcelona 2-2. Both Zaragoza and Celta sit near the bottom of the table, but this is the time when teams fighting for survival start to come alive.
This was apparent in the sixth minute when Zaragoza central midfielder Apoño stripped Luka Modric and the ball bounced fortunately to Rodri. The young midfielder pushed the ball forward, outran the Madrid defense and smashed a shot past Diego Lopez.
Los Blancos were able to recover before halftime when Cristiano Ronaldo's relentless pressure allowed him to get a shot off in the penalty area, and he was clearly in no mood to make mistakes. His attempt was low and powerful, and it ended up in the back of the net.
Both teams were able to produce chances in the second half, and Madrid cannot rightfully claim that it dominated this match, although it may feel it had the better opportunities.
The end result was another disappointing performance in a forgettable La Liga campaign for Jose Mourinho's side.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid: B+
Ronaldo made an admirable effort to pull his side level in this game. If not for his willingness to stay with the play, he likely never would have had an opportunity on goal in that situation.
He was once again active and dangerous on the wing in this game. He does not deserve blame for the draw, but he needed to produce one more moment of magic for his team to get a victory.
Rodri, Zaragoza: A-
When facing one of the European giants, players must leap headfirst into any window of opportunity. This is what Rodri did on Zaragoza's lone goal.
He was fortunate to receive the ball, then took an ambitious touch toward goal before shifting into another gear and getting a shot off. It was a courageous play, and it paid off massively for Zaragoza.
Luka Modric, Real Madrid: C-
Modric's grade takes a big hit because he was the one who lost possession on the play that led to Zaragoza's goal. This is a cardinal sin for a holding midfielder.
But this incident came in just the sixth minute. He had plenty of opportunities to atone for his error, and he failed to do so.
Helder Postiga, Zaragoza: B-
Zaragoza's leading goal-scorer had a chance to show up his compatriot, but the Portuguese striker did not have a significant impact on this match.
The Madrid centre-backs did an admirable job marking Postiga, but he needed to be more active and involved in order to lead his team to victory.
Gonzalo Higuain, Real Madrid: C
Like Postiga, Higuain did not leave a mark on this match. Madrid's dangerous attacks came from the wings and not through its lone striker.
Karim Benzema was on the bench for this fixture, but Mourinho opted to use his three substitutions elsewhere. This may be a decision that weighs heavily on his mind after the lackluster result.
Madrid will have a Champions League tie against Galatasaray on Wednesday before returning to La Liga to take on Levante on Saturday.
Zaragoza will also be back on the pitch on Saturday with a league match against Deportivo La Coruña.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!