Real es­cape with vic­tory

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

CRISTIANO Ron­aldo struck twice as Real Madrid were thank­ful for a late missed penalty from Duje Cop to open up a seven-point lead over Barcelona with a 2-1 win over Sport­ing Gi­jon on Novem­ber 26.

Madrid looked set for an easy af­ter­noon as Ron­aldo opened the scor­ing from the penalty spot be­fore he headed home a sec­ond in­side 20 min­utes.

How­ever, Car­los Car­mona halved Sport­ing’s deficit 10 min­utes be­fore half-time and the strug­gling vis­i­tors were handed a huge chance for an un­ex­pected point 12 min­utes from time when Na­cho brought down Vic­tor Ro­driguez.

Yet, Cop sent his penalty high and wide as Real held on amidst a tor­ren­tial down­pour to ex­tend their un­beaten run to 31 games in all com­pe­ti­tions.

Sevilla leapfrogged Barca into sec­ond with a 2-1 win over rel­e­ga­tion­threat­ened Va­len­cia.

How­ever, Barca had a chance to cut the gap back to four points on Madrid and re­take sec­ond place with a first win at Real So­ciedad in nine years yes­ter­day (game played af­ter press time).

Barca also host Real Madrid in the first Cla­sico of the sea­son be­tween Span­ish foot­ball’s two giants at the Camp Nou next week­end.

“It is a game for us to for­get be­cause things didn’t go as we would have liked,” said Madrid boss Zine­dine Zi­dane.

“We lacked a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing, but we are happy to get the three points which is the most im­por­tant thing.”

Fresh from net­ting a hat-trick against Atletico Madrid last week­end, Ron­aldo con­tin­ued his re­turn to scor­ing form with a quick­fire dou­ble to move ahead of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez as La Liga’s top scorer.

The opener ar­rived on five min­utes when Lu­cas Vazquez was naively chopped down by Ser­gio Al­varez and Ron­aldo em­phat­i­cally con­verted the re­sult­ing spot-kick.

The Por­tuguese’s sec­ond fin­ish was even more im­pres­sive as he buried Na­cho’s cross from the left with a pow­er­ful header that left Diego Marino no chance in the Sport­ing goal.

In be­tween times Ron­aldo had also headed waste­fully wide when un­marked from a cor­ner, while Marino par­ried another fierce ef­fort as the three-time World Player of the Year chased his 40th hat-trick for Madrid.

In­stead, it was Sport­ing who halved the ar­rears be­fore half-time when a rare mis­placed pass from Luka Mo­dric al­lowed Isma Lopez to cross from the left and Car­mona’s out­stretched leg prod­ded the ball past Navas.

In de­te­ri­o­rat­ing con­di­tions caused by the tor­ren­tial rain, Madrid strug­gled to get go­ing af­ter the break.

Zi­dane with­drew cap­tain Ser­gio Ramos with an eye on the Cla­sico next week with the Span­ish in­ter­na­tional a yel­low card away from miss­ing that game through sus­pen­sion.

Ear­lier, Malaga and Es­panyol moved into the top half of the ta­ble with vic­to­ries over De­portivo la Coruna and Le­ganes re­spec­tively. –

Photo: AFP

Real Madrid’s Por­tuguese de­fender Pepe (left) jumps for the ball with Sport­ing Gi­jon’s Croa­t­ian for­ward Duje Cop dur­ing the Span­ish league foot­ball match Real Madrid CF vs Real Sport­ing de Gi­jon at San­ti­ago Bern­abeu Sta­dium in Madrid on Novem­ber 26.

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