There was no love lost for Cristiano Ronaldo among the Sporting Lisbon supporters at the Santiago Bernabau after Real Madrid clinched an extra time 2-1 victory against Sporting Lisbon in the opening Group F game of the UEFA Champions League campaign. The Portuguese, who has recently come out from injury scored from a splendidly taken free-kick 25 yards outside the penalty box but refrained from celebrating in lieu of respect towards his boyhood club.
After Madrid’s biggest rivals Barcelona cruising to a 7-0 win against Celtc yesterday, it was Los Blancos’s turn to open their campaign in the biggest competition in Europe with a win but a victory did not come easy for Zidane’s side this evening. Prior to the match, Real Madrid were a much better team on paper as both Ronaldo and Karim Benzema both named on the starting list alongside Gareth Bale but Zinedine Zidane’s side proved just could not live up to the expected level of football that was expected from them. The first half an hour of the match yielded no significant signal of a change in the scoreline as Madrid lacked conviction going forward which Sporting capitalised on Ronaldo had a swerving effort tipped away by fellow Portugal team-mate Rui Patricio in the 27th minute of the game. The Portuguese also fired a free kick over the bar after Gareth Bale was brought down on the left hand side right on the brink of half time as both teams returned to the dugout after a very blunt first half where neither teams could find the back of the net.
The second half saw Sporting take an early second half lead as Cesar curled one out of Casilla’s reach from a fairly close range after a defensive lapse in the Madrid penalty box. The men in white completely lacked spunk going forward with an array of mispasses from multiple players on multiple occassions which allowed Sporting to capitalise. Bale’s Injury gave way for the young guns of Zidane’s side , Alvaro Morata and Lucas Vasquez to come off the bench but even their young legs weren’t enough to find a breakthrough as Vasquez was thwarted time and time again on the right-hand side while the best Morata could do all match was to tap in a goal from an offside position, Sporting kept their heads in the game and played a match of clean straight football with the primary objective of getting behind the ball before making one crucial mistake of giving away a free-kick just outside 25 year yards which Ronaldo slotted in the top right corner of the net bringing up his first goal of the Champions League and second goal of the season in two games. SPorting’s second mistake in a matter of minutes cost them the game as an unmarked Alvaro Morata headed in past Rui Patricio to grab the winner in extra time for Los Blancos.
Did Madrid deserve to win the match? Definitely not. But did they deserve to win? That would be a no too. But this is football and anything and everything can happen and sometimes the better teams don’t come out on top
And the season has just begun.