Ronaldo scores 2 as Real Madrid equals Carlo Ancelotti’s run

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

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.

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