Ronaldo scores 2 as Real Madrid equals Carlo Ancelotti’s run
Zinedine Zidane has matched another feat by Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.
With two first-half goals by Cristiano Ronaldo, Zidane's Madrid defeated Sporting Gijon 2-1 in the Spanish league yesterday to equal the 31-game unbeaten run by Ancelotti's team in the 2013-14 season.
Zidane already matched the former Madrid manager by winning the Champions League last season, a title that Ancelotti won with the Spanish powerhouse in 2014, when Zidane was an assistant coach.
Yesterday's win in pouring rain at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium — thanks in part to a late penalty kick missed by Sporting — also gave Madrid a seven-point lead over Barcelona, which plays today at fifth-place Real Sociedad to try to stay close.
Madrid, which has won six in a row in the league, will play Barcelona at the Camp Nou next Saturday.
Madrid hasn't lost since April at Wolfsburg in the quarterfinals of last season's Champions League. It has won 23 games since then.
Madrid's all-time unbeaten run of 34 games was under coach Leo Beenhakker in the 1988-89 season. Barcelona holds the unbeaten record in Spain of 39 consecutive games last season, a streak that ended with a defeat to Madrid.
Madrid was heavily favored against Sporting, which had lost seven of its previous nine league games.
The hosts got off to a good start as Ronaldo — who had a hat trick against Atletico Madrid in last weekend's derby — scored from the penalty spot in the fifth minute and from a header in the 18th.
Sporting pulled one closer through Carlos Carmona in the 35th and had chances to equalize in the second half. The best one came with Duje Cop's shot from the penalty spot but the ball sailed high and wide.
It was Madrid's first game since losing Gareth Bale because of a right ankle injury that is expected to sideline him for at least two months.