CR7 re­turns in style

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

PARIS. - Cris­tiano Ron­aldo grabbed a brace on his re­turn from sus­pen­sion for Real Madrid, as Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur ended their Wem­b­ley jinx and Liver­pool were held on their Cham­pi­ons League soc­cer come­back on Wed­nes­day night.

Real have sorely missed their Por­tuguese su­per­star as he serves a five-match do­mes­tic ban for push­ing a ref­eree.

But he wasted no time in mak­ing his tow­er­ing pres­ence felt against APOEL Ni­cosia, scor­ing af­ter just 12 min­utes from Gareth Bale’s low cross, and then dou­bling his tally from the penalty spot be­fore Ser­gio Ramos’s over­head kick rounded off the cosy 3-0 win.

Ron­aldo has now struck 12 times in his last six Cham­pi­ons League games.

“He is the best in the world. We know he will al­ways score goals,” said Madrid boss Zine­dine Zi­dane.

“With a bit more luck to­day he could have scored four. Cris­tiano has so many goals in him and we feel it.”

“Hope­fully he stays in form. You can’t ques­tion the lev­els he reaches every year,” added Ramos.

The ti­tle­hold­ers top Group H with Tot­ten­ham, who ended their woeful Wem­b­ley run with an im­pres­sive Harry Kane-in­spired 3-1 win over Borus­sia Dort­mund.

Al­ready scarred by dam­ag­ing Wem­b­ley de­feats in the Cham­pi­ons League and FA Cup semi-fi­nals last term, Tot- ten­ham had lost to Chelsea and drawn with Burn­ley this sea­son, spark­ing alarmist talk that they were jinxed at the hal­lowed north Lon­don venue.

But, af­ter los­ing eight of their pre­vi­ous 12 matches at Wem­b­ley, Kane’s preda­tory fin­ish­ing en­sured Tot­ten­ham fi­nally en­joyed a night to re­mem­ber in their tem­po­rary lodg­ings.

Son He­ung-Min’s first goal of the sea­son put Tot­ten­ham ahead early on with An­driy Yar­molenko con­jur­ing a sub­lime equaliser.

Kane, who scored twice in Satur­day’s win at Ever­ton, re­stored Tot­ten­ham’s ad­van­tage be­fore the in­ter­val and wrapped up the vic­tory with his sec­ond goal af­ter half-time.

The only blem­ish for Spurs was a late send­ing off for a sec­ond book­able of­fence for Jan Ver­tonghen, who swung his fore­arm into Mario Gotze’s face.

“It was so im­por­tant to win, we are so happy. We in­creased our level in the sec­ond half and were very clin­i­cal,” Spurs boss Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino said.

“It is more than three points. The team is more ma­ture now. Harry Kane was fan­tas­tic.”

At An­field, Roberto Firmino’s firsthalf penalty miss proved costly for Liver­pool as Joaquin Cor­rea scored a dra­matic equaliser to grab Sevilla a 2-2 draw.

An­field was in ju­bi­lant mood as the English club wel­comed back Champi- ons League foot­ball af­ter a two-year ab­sence, but it took Sevilla just four min­utes to dampen the en­thu­si­asm.

Af­ter Wis­sam Ben Yed­der had given the Span­ish side an early lead, goals from Firmino and Mo­hamed Salah put Liver­pool ahead, only for Firmino to miss a penalty.

On the hour, Sevilla man­ager Ed­uardo Ber­izzo was dis­missed for throw­ing the ball away from Liver­pool’s Joe Gomez as he tried to take a throw-in, but his dis­ap­point­ment was eased, thanks to Cor­rea, on 72 min­utes.

“Of course I’m not happy with the re­sult but I’m happy with a big part of the game,” said Liver­pool boss Jur­gen Klopp. - AFP.

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