Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 23rd 2015 Contents Ronaldo helps Madrid past Elche
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, February 23, 2015
and Karim Benzema scored to give
Real Madrid a 2-0 win at Elche yes-
terday, as the Spanish league leaders
capitalized on Barcelona s stumble
to increase their advantage to four
Madrid grasped the opportunity
Barcelona had presented it with after
a 1-0 defeat at home to Malaga on
Elche was fortunate to escape with-
out conceding in a first half dominated
But Benzema tapped in a boggled
clearance by Elche s defense to make
the breakthrough in the 56th, and
Ronaldo ended a five-round scoring
drought by heading in his league-
leading 29th goal in the 69th.
"(Barcelona s) loss surprised us all
because they were playing very well,"
said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.
"This was an important game con-
sidering what happened yesterday so
we could gain some distance. But this
is going to go down to the last game
of the season."
Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas
500 Spanish league game was one of
his most uneventful, as he was called
upon just once against the outclassed
Casillas set a club record for the
most wins by a Madrid player in la
Liga with 328.
Benzema was well placed to tap
home a loose ball after David Lom-
ban s clearance of Cristiano Ronaldo
cross hit goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton
and fell to the striker.
Despite Madrid s great start with
Toni Kroos orchestrating the attack,
Ronaldo s scoring troubles from recent
weeks continued as he spurned several
chances and threw at least three
tantrums when his cries for fouls went
Ronaldo s header, however, was a
skillful attempt as he generated enough
power from a standstill to thump
Francisco "Isco" Alarcon s cross past
Tyton. That goal put him three ahead
of Barcelona s Lionel Messi, who had
closed in as the pair target the league s
top scorer for the season.
While Madrid s victory was not
much of a surprise, Real Sociedad
went form losing to winning its 4-3
shootout with Sevilla in a span of the
final eight minutes.
Athletic Bilbao also needed a late
strike from Aritz Aduriz with four
minutes to play to edge Rayo Vallecano
1-0 for its first home win in six rounds.
Villarreal, likewise, eked out a 1-0
win over visitors Eibar thanks to
Luciano Vietto s second-half strike.
Sociedad midfielder Xabi Prieto
headed in his second goal of the game
from a corner kick in the 90th to
complete the comeback after Sevilla
led 3-2 with eight minutes left.
The home side had opened through
Imanol Agirretxe after defender Ale-
jandro Arribas lost sight of him and
the ball in the 16th.
Timothee Kolodziejczak leveled two
minutes before halftime before Prieto
restored Sociedad s lead with a penalty
in the 48th.
Sevilla responded with goals from
Carlos Bacca and Kevin Gameiro to
lead 3-2, but Arribas compounded
his poor showing with an own goal
in the 82nd before Prieto got the win-
The defeat left Sevilla in fifth place,
five points behind Valencia in the final
Champions League spot, while
Sociedad climbed into 10th.
Sixth-place Villarreal pulled to
within one point of Sevilla after Vietto
broke through in the 71st when his
shot slipped through the grasp of Eibar
goalkeeper Xabi Irureta.
Eibar s struggles since the winter
break continued as the promoted club
lost its fifth consecutive game to slip
Aduriz took Bilbao s winner after
he combined with left back Mikel
Balenziaga to finally break down Rayo s
defence, as the Basques moved into
MILAN---Roma s slim title
hopes faded further yesterday
as it drew 1-1 at Hellas Verona
in Serie A to leave it nine points
behind league leader Juventus.
Francesco Totti fired Roma in
front in the 26th minute but
Verona leveled when Seydou
Keita deflected Bosko Jankovic s
header into his own net.
Adem Ljajic should have sent
Roma in at the break in front
after a fine first-half performance
from the capital side, but he hit
the post. It was Roma s sixth
draw in its past seven league
matches. Elsewhere, Lazio moved
fourth as Antonio Candreva
helped it beat Palermo 2-1. Lazio
went a point ahead of Fiorentina,
which was held 1-1 by Torino,
and two behind Napoli, which
hosts Sassuolo on Monday.
AC Milan recorded only its
second win in nine matches with
a 2-0 victory over Cesena, while
Empoli beat fellow struggler
Chievo Verona 3-0. Inter Milan
also plays today, away at relega-
tion-threatened Cagliari. Parma s
match against Udinese was post-
poned with the club unable to
pay for security and electricity.
With Juventus beating Atalanta
2-1 on Friday night, Roma knew
it had to win to stay in touch
with the defending champion
ahead of their match at the Stadio
Olimpico next week.
Roma s early pressure paid off
when Totti fired the capital side
in front with a 25-yard effort that
bounced in front of Verona goal-
keeper Francesco Benussi before
going into the bottom left cor-
ner.Verona leveled in the 38th
minute when Jankovic s header
from Emil Hallfredsson s corner
hit Keita on its way into the net,
wrongfooting Morgan De Sanctis.
Roma could have restored its lead
on the stroke of halftime but Lja-
jic s free kick crashed off the
Lazio is now only eight points
behind Roma and firmly in the
race for a Champions League
Paulo Dybala fired Palermo in
front with his 12th goal of the
season in the 26th minute but
Stefano Mauri leveled seven min-
utes later, tapping in from close
range after Danilo Cataldi had
knocked a cross back into the
Candreva sealed all three points
for Lazio with a stunning 78th-
minute goal, cutting in from the
left side of the area before curling
into the top far corner. The mid-
fielder injured himself in the cel-
ebrations and had to be replaced.
Roma's title hopes fade after draw
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