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Ronaldo rescues Real at second attempt

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-27 08:03

Ronaldo rescues Real at second attempt

Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after following up his saved penalty to score Real Madrid's winner in its 3-2 league victory over Malaga at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid on Saturday. [Photo/Agencies]

BARCELONA - Cristiano Ronaldo's blushes were spared after he netted on the rebound from his saved penalty to earn Real Madrid a 3-2 La Liga win over Malaga on Saturday.

Ronaldo netted the 75th-minute winner by calmly firing home after Malaga goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez saved his spot-kick.

Jimenez had denied the Portuguese twice in the first half before Ronaldo finally got his second league goal of the season.

The win left Madrid seven points behind leader Barcelona, which was due to travel to second-place Valencia on Sunday.

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane blamed his reigning champion's wayward passing for twice losing the lead to a team in the relegation zone.

"We knew that possession of the ball is a weapon that we have, and we lost the ball several times," Zidane said.

"In the end, we have to focus on the result since we know that we did some things well and that there were some other things that didn't go as we would have liked."

Karim Benzema also netted just his second league goal of the campaign to put Madrid ahead in the ninth minute when he nodded in a rebound of a Ronaldo header that came off the crossbar.

Malaga hadn't scored a goal in all six of its previous league games away from home, but it equalized through Diego Rolan in the 18th by capitalizing on an error by midfielder Toni Kroos.

The Germany international blundered with a back-pass near his own area, and Sergio "Keko" Gontan pounced to send in a cross for unmarked Rolan to control with his chest and fire home.

Casemiro headed Madrid ahead again and Malaga forward Gonzalo Castro made it 2-2 with a long-range strike.

Madrid was heading to another costly slip at Santiago Bernabeu - where it failed to win its first three league matches this term - until substitute Luka Modric was tripped by Luis Hernandez in the area. That allowed Ronaldo to step up and ultimately tuck away the winner.

Malaga's woes were compounded by a knee injury to defender Juan Carlos Perez.

"We deserved much more (from the match)," said Malaga coach Michel Gonzalez.

"We are all worried about Juan Carlos' knee because he is in a lot of pain, and that hurts us more than the loss."

Kevin Gameiro scored twice and played a role in three more goals to lead Atletico Madrid's 5-0 rout at Levante.

Antoine Griezmann also bagged a brace to show more signs he has put his early-season slump behind him.

Atletico's biggest win of the season allowed it to move ahead of Real and into third place on goal difference.

Associated Press

 

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