Ron­aldo tre­ble sinks Atletico

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Cris­tiano Ron­aldo en­sured Atletico Madrid fans will have bit­ter mem­o­ries of the last lo­cal derby at the Vi­cente Calderon sta­dium by scor­ing a hat-trick in a 3-0 win for La Liga lead­ers Real Madrid on Satur­day.

Ron­aldo’s de­flected free kick put Real in charge in the 23rd minute in the first meet­ing of the teams since the Cham­pi­ons League final in May. The pro­lific Por­tuguese killed off Atletico’s re­sis­tance by win­ning and con­vert­ing a penalty in the 71st minute and capped a har­row­ing night for the home side by tap­ping in the third in the 77th. It was Real’s first league win over their city ri­vals since 2013 while Ron­aldo’s tre­ble took him to the top of the league’s scor­ing list on eight goals along with Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Real are top of the ta­ble with 30 points from 12 matches, four above Barcelona af­ter the cham­pi­ons were held to a goal­less draw at home to Malaga who fin­ished the game with nine men. Atletico are nine points adrift of Real in fifth while Sevilla are third on 24 af­ter beat­ing De­portivo La Coruna 3-2.

The Madrid derby took on ex­tra sig­nif­i­cance for be­ing the last league meet­ing of the sides at the Vi­cente Calderon with Atletico due to move from the 50-year-old ground to a new 67,000 ca­pac­ity arena next year.

“It’s a very im­por­tant vic­tory for us at a dif­fi­cult ground. We played very well from the start and there’s not many teams that can do that at this ground,” said Real coach Zine­dine Zi­dane. “I’m de­lighted with Cris­tiano’s goals and (mid­fielder) Isco was in­cred­i­ble, he didn’t give the ball away once.”

Real were with­out mid­field duo Casemiro and Toni Kroos and Zi­dane de­cided to rest Ser­gio Ramos and Karim Ben­zema, who had only just re­cov­ered from in­jury.

Af­ter a fran­tic end-to-end start, the vis­i­tors took con­trol and came close to tak­ing the lead when Ron­aldo headed to­wards goal and Jan Oblak dived low to hook the ball off the line.

Real’s all-time top scorer told the ref­eree’s as­sis­tant the ball had gone over the line but he did not have to wait much longer to cel­e­brate a le­git­i­mate goal. He whipped a free kick at the wall and saw it de­flected off Ste­fan Savic’s hip beyond Oblak. Just like the Cham­pi­ons League final, Atletico made a bet­ter start to the sec­ond half and set about try­ing to get a foothold in the game. An­toine Griez­mann burst into the box from the left but could only fire the ball out for a throw from a tight an­gle while Yan­nick Car­rasco came close with a long-range strike.

Atletico coach Diego Sime­one threw cau­tion to the wind by bring­ing on for­wards Kevin Gameiro and An­gel Cor­rea for Fer­nando Tor­res and Gabi but Ron­aldo took ad­van­tage of the ex­tra space at the back, racing be­hind Savic and tum­bling over the de­fender’s stray leg. Ron­aldo sealed Real’s 11th Euro­pean Cup tri­umph with a penalty against Oblak and made no mis­take from the spot here, send­ing the Slove­nian the wrong way. He then stuck the knife into Atletico by turn­ing in Gareth Bale’s low cross to com­plete his tre­ble. Atletico mid­fielder Koke felt the score­line was harsh on his side. “It’s been a dif­fi­cult night. We leave here very sad, I don’t think we de­served to lose 3-0,” he said.

— AFP

MADRID: Atletico Madrid’s Uruguayan de­fender Diego Godin (L) vies with Real Madrid’s Por­tuguese for­ward Cris­tiano Ron­aldo dur­ing the Spanish league foot­ball match Club Atletico de Madrid vs Real Madrid CF at the Vi­cente Calderon sta­dium in Madrid, on Satur­day.

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