Peeved Ron­aldo subbed as Real held to draw by Las Pal­mas

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

ASUBSTITUTED Cris­tiano Ron­aldo cut a dis­con­so­late fig­ure as Real Madrid con­ceded a late equaliser to draw 2-2 at Las Pal­mas on Septem­ber 24. Ear­lier, Barcelona shrugged off the ab­sence of the in­jured Lionel Messi to move to within a point of Madrid at the top of the ta­ble, as Luis Suarez and Ney­mar led a 5-0 thrash­ing of Sport­ing Gi­jon.

Ron­aldo was re­placed mo­ments af­ter help­ing Madrid go ahead 2-1, when Karim Ben­zema slot­ted home a re­bound af­ter the Por­tuguese star’s ini­tial shot was saved.

The three-time World Player of the Year watched from the bench as Ser­gio Araujo took ad­van­tage of some soft Madrid de­fend­ing to tie, and the Euro­pean cham­pi­ons dropped points for the sec­ond time in four days.

Madrid boss Zine­dine Zi­dane in­sisted that, de­spite a sub-par dis­play, Ron­aldo had been re­placed to keep him fresh for to­mor­row’s Cham­pi­ons League trip to Borus­sia Dort­mund.

“We have an­other game [to­mor­row] and he has to rest too now and again,” Zi­dane told Span­ish TV sta­tion Mo­vis­tar.

“I have to take him off some­times and tonight we did it.”

Stung by a poor first-half per­for­mance in a 1-1 draw with Vil­lar­real last week that snapped a 16-game La Liga win­ning streak, Madrid pressed high, with 17 shots in a wide-open first 45 min­utes.

Real broke through just af­ter the half-hour mark when Javi Varas made a fine save on Na­cho’s low ef­fort, but Marco Asen­sio fol­lowed up to head into an empty net.

The lead lasted just five min­utes though, as Raphael Varane’s poor de­fen­sive header fell at the feet of Tana, who slot­ted past the help­less Real keeper Kiko Casilla.

Varas de­nied Ron­aldo mid­way through the sec­ond half, but sub­sti­tute Ben­zema was on hand to turn home the loose ball.

Ron­aldo was then re­placed by Lu­cas Vazquez, and didn’t ac­knowl­edge Zi­dane as he sulked off the field. He has played a com­plete 90 min­utes just once in Madrid’s six La Liga games so far this sea­son.

Of most con­cern for Madrid is their leaky de­fence, as they have now kept just one clean sheet in their last six games.

Ear­lier, Barcelona over­came a dif­fi­cult open­ing half hour to hit five past 10-man Sport­ing Gi­jon. Yet Barca coach Luis En­rique was far from sat­is­fied with his side’s dis­play, par­tic­u­larly early in the sec­ond half.

“It is a re­sult that doesn’t tell the true story of the game – 5-0 makes it seem easy and sim­ple and that couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth,” he said.

“We were poor at the start of the sec­ond half. We didn’t kill the game off and Sport­ing could have got back into the game.”

One mo­ment of Suarez magic turned the game in Barca’s favour, as he raced onto Arda Tu­ran’s through ball and flicked it past the on­rush­ing Ivan Cuel­lar be­fore slotting into an empty net.

A fine team goal put the game be­yond Sport­ing mo­ments later, as Ney­mar freed Sergi Roberto down the right and Rafinha met his cross with a pow­er­ful near-post header.

Gareth Bale had been the star mem­ber of Madrid’s front line most of­ten sac­ri­ficed by Zi­dane in re­cent weeks, as the Welsh­man was re­placed in each of his last three out­ings.

How­ever, Bale looked close to the form that saw him shine to­ward the end of last sea­son and at Euro 2016, and be­lieves Ron­aldo will also need time to re­turn from a two-month in­jury lay­off af­ter the Eu­ros. “He’s been work­ing hard on his in­juries since he came back,” said Bale.

Bale is yet to score since the open­ing day of the La Liga sea­son, but in­sists the goals will ar­rive if Real con­tinue to cre­ate the num­ber of chances they did in the Ca­nary Is­lands.

“We’re not happy to lose four points, but if you look at the league over­all we are in a good po­si­tion,” he added.

Sevilla missed the chance to go level with Madrid at the top, as they suf­fered their first league de­feat of the sea­son, 3-1, at Ath­letic Bil­bao. –

Photo: AFP

Real Madrid for­ward Cris­tiano Ron­aldo sulks af­ter miss­ing a goal against Vil­lar­real CF in Madrid on Septem­ber 21.

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