Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 26th 2016 Contents A45
consecutive draws and
a little rant by Cristiano
Ronaldo have put Real
Madrid on the verge of an early
Real Madrid got off to a good start
this season but setbacks against Vil-
larreal and Las Palmas in the Spanish
league, combined with Ronaldo s
angry reaction after being substituted
on Saturday, have created an air of
The Spanish powerhouse still holds
the league lead, but its advantage over
Barcelona was cut to one point after
the recent lacklustre performances.
Madrid also struggled against Sporting
Lisbon in its Champions League open-
er, when it needed two late goals to
salvage a 2-1 win at home.
The biggest problem facing coach
Zinedine Zidane may be Ronaldo, who
was visibly upset after being replaced
in the 72nd minute in the 2-2 draw
at Las Palmas. The Portuguese forward
did not look at Zidane as they quickly
shook hands after the substitution.
Zidane was the one who moved
toward Ronaldo and extended his
Ronaldo had walked briskly toward
the sideline after seeing he was being
replaced by youngster Lucas Vazquez,
sputtering words to himself and not
hiding his disappointment. He con-
tinued talking, apparently in Por-
tuguese, on his way to the bench,
where he watched the rest of the game.
After the match, Zidane tried to
downplay Ronaldo s attitude, saying
he didn t think the player was angry
at being replaced. The coach said he
took his star forward out to rest him
ahead of the team s Champions League
match at Borussia Dortmund.
"We ve got a game on Tuesday and
I thought that it was the right time
to bring him off," Zidane said. "That s
all there is to it. He always wants to
play and be out there on the pitch,
but I ve also got to think about the
player and he needed to rest and think
Madrid was winning 2-1 when
Ronaldo was replaced, and Las Palmas
equalised near the end to keep Madrid
winless for the second straight match.
"We re relaxed," Zidane said. "We
are working hard and focused on what
we re doing. We have to realize that
you can t always win, but we re on
the right track."
Ronaldo did not play well but set
up the team s second goal on Saturday,
scored by Karim Benzema, just min-
utes before being taken off the field.
The forward has been supportive
of Zidane since the former player took
over the squad last season, always
praising his way of coaching. There
had never been any signs of discontent
from Ronaldo before Saturday s inci-
dent. Ronaldo was crucial for Zidane s
team as it won the Champions League
title last season.
Ronaldo did not talk to the media
after the match. (AP)
BARCELONA---For a second
straight match, Atletico Madrid
manager Diego Simeone made all
the right moves to get a result that
tightened competition at the top
of the Spanish league.
Simeone s decision to send on
Kevin Gameiro proved key to beat-
ing a Deportivo La Coruna side that
remained stubborn despite playing
the entire second half with 10 men.
Four minutes after going on, the
striker used his speed to set up
Antoine Griezmann for the goal
that secured a 1-0 victory with 20
minutes remaining at Vicente
"Gameiro played well as soon as
he went on and was decisive in the
move that produced the goal,"
Simeone said. "We had a tough
time settling into the match and it
was getting away from us."
After drawing its first two match-
es of the season against newly-pro-
moted sides, Atletico appeared to
have already seriously damaged its
hopes of making the title race a
three-way contest with Barcelona
and Real Madrid for a fourth straight
But Simeone s side is right back
in the thick of things after a positive
week. Atletico climbed into third
place and closed to within two
points of Madrid---a day after the
leader stumbled to a 2-2 draw at
Las Palmas. Atletico also pulled to
within one point of second-placed
Barcelona, five days after its 1-1
draw at the defending champions
Simeone s latest tactical twist
came after he pulled Angel Correa
and Fernando Torres off the bench
while trailing at Barcelona, and the
pair immediately linked up for Cor-
rea s equalizer.
While Simeone kept pulling the
strings Sunday, it again fell to Griez-
mann to provide the goal.
The goal was his fifth in six
rounds this season, putting him
level with Barcelona s Luis Suarez
as the league s leading scorers.
The France forward tapped in a
squared pass from Gameiro, who
had beaten the offside trap to reach
a throughball from Juanfran Tor-
res.The victory came at a price,
Atletico lost midfielder Augusto
Fernandez and defender Jose
Gimenez to leg injuries in the first
half. Both players had to be
stretchered off the pitch.
The club said that Fernandez
"completely tore" a ligament in
his right knee, while Gimenez
injured a muscle in his right leg.
Deportivo was able to stifle
Atletico s attack until Faycal Fajr
left his team a man down in first-
half injury time when he picked
up a second yellow card for a low
tackle on Nicolas Gaitan.
It was Atletico in complete con-
trol for the rest of the match, and
only the goalkeeping of German
Lux kept the visitors clinging to a
Lux pushed Yannick Carrasco s
long strike onto his bar in the 53rd
at the start of a barrage by Atletico.
Lux then denied Carrasco from
close range before saving a point-
blank header by Angel Correa.
Simeone took the risky decision
to pull Carrasco, Atletico s most
incisive player until that point, for
The decision proved key to get-
ting the winner, as Gameiro darted
free down the right side before
finding Griezmann with his low
It was Deportivo s fifth straight
round without a win. (AP)
Simeone pulls strings to produce Atletico win
VILLARREAL 3, OSASUNA 1
LEGANES 1, VALENCIA 2
Real Madrid's Cristiano
Ronaldo shoots the ball
during the Spanish La Liga
soccer match between Real
Madrid and Villarreal at the
Santiago Bernabeu stadium
in Madrid, Wednesday. The
match ended in a 1-1 draw.
...as Real Madrid deals with poor results
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