Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winner spares sluggish Real Madrid’s blushes

first_imgThere were five minutes to go and the nerves were increasingly frayed, the prospect of slipping nine points behind Barcelona in the table growing more real by the minute, when the men on the Real Madrid bench leapt in relief and ran towards the corner. Isco clipped a clever pass into the penalty area, the ball sitting up in front of Cristiano Ronaldo, who hit it into the far corner. Down by the corner flag, team-mates piled on. Victory had looked like it was evading them for a fourth time in just eight league games when an own goal had drawn Getafe level, but now it was secured. Lazio shock Juventus while Hertha Berlin players ‘take a knee’ Share on Facebook A few minutes before Ronaldo had put the ball wide from barely a yard and time ticked away on a largely sluggish Madrid performance as they prepare for the visit of Spurs in the Champions League, but now he had scored his first league goal of the season – and, although Getafe would seek another equaliser, Mehdi Lacen’s shot flying wide, it proved decisive. The combination that carried them to the title in the final months of last season, and led them to the European Cup as well, had done it again: Isco made it, Ronaldo finished it.Isco had only been on the pitch a little over 10 minutes. He had not started this game, as Zinedine Zidane continued the policy of rotation that served him so well in the last campaign. It is one he believes in and also one that is forced upon him by circumstance, particularly with Tuesday night coming up. In the end, though, he had to call on Isco. One-nil up down thanks to Karim Benzema, Getafe had equalised just before the hour and Madrid, who began the afternoon seven points behind Barcelona, needed a goal.Of the side that will face Spurs, perhaps only six began here. It is two weeks since Gareth Bale went off against Borussia Dortmund. That night, Zidane said that it was nothing to worry about. A fortnight on, Bale is yet to rejoin training and his manager admits that he has suffered not one but two injuries and will not be available in midweek. Nor will Dani Carvajal, who has a virus that effects the membrane around his heart. There is more optimism with Keylor Navas, who was left out here, while Luka Modric and Isco started on the bench, and Raphaël Varane and Casemiro were left out of the squad.Up front were Benzema and Ronaldo, who started together for the first time since the Champions League final against Juventus. By the end, they had scored one each but it had not been an easy afternoon. Benzema had been out for a month and he was swiftly involved, forcing a corner on the left in the opening two minutes, then setting up Ronaldo soon afterwards, controlling Marcelo’s speared ball and, without letting it drop, taking two touches and nudging it to Ronaldo, whose low volley was sharply saved by Vicente Guaita.For a long time, that was pretty much that. Madrid dominated possession and the shot count climbed slowly but in truth, there was not a huge amount happening until a man ran on the pitch dressed in full Ronaldo kit, going past more players than anyone else had so far, and stopping to have a brief conversation with the real Ronaldo. The stewards appeared and escorted ‘Ronaldo’ off and along the touchline where they handed him over to the police and he appeared to plead with them to let him stay.He missed the opening goal, five minutes before half time. A sideways pass from Ronaldo became an incisive one thanks to a deflection from Fayçal Fajr, who slid in to cut it out and put the full back Vitorino Antunes out of the game. Benzema received it on the run, space opening before him. As Juan Cala came flying across, Benzema played it beyond him, watched Cala slide by, and ran on to reach it, then hit a low shot into the far corner. On the touchline, there was a hint of relief in the way that Zidane applauded which would be nothing compared to his reaction almost an hour later. Share on LinkedIn The Observer Getafe Topics Real Madrid Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter Reuse this contentcenter_img La Liga match reports European club football Getafe responded 11 minutes into the second half. Jorge Molina controlled near the left touchline, not far beyond the halfway line, and turned it inside. The ball went across the pitch, left to right, pass by pass, until Damián Suárez played in Fajr and his low, diagonal ball across the six-yard box looked for Jorge Molina, who had continued his run inside across the pitch. Instead, with Molina baring down on them, it appeared to come off both Marcos Llorente and Nacho and slipped into the far corner.If the goal had not exactly been coming, nor had a second for Madrid. Guaita was quickly out to Ronaldo and Marcelo fired over. A Ronaldo free-kick soon after the equaliser flew wide, then he put the ball past the post from barely a yard as it bounced up to him. Theo Hernández, on as a substitute, then had a goal ruled out for offside. Madrid were not finding a way through, until Isco connected with Ronaldo once again. Share on Messenger Share via Email Read more Kevin De Bruyne leads the way as Manchester City thrash Stoke 7-2 Read more Share on Pinterestlast_img

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