In Cristiano’s return to Lisbon, we had a similar lineup to the one we rolled out against Atleti. A win guaranteed our place in the Round of 16.
Pre-Match Social Media:
Sporting CP: Rui Patricio; Joao Pereira, Sebastian Coates, Ruben Semedo, Marvin Zeegelaar; Gelson Martins, Adrien Silva, William Carvalho, Alan Ruiz; Bruno Cesar, Bas Dost
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Isco; Lucas Vazquez, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo
Sporting started things off, and looked quite squirrely in the opening minutes. Especially when they forced Ramos to make a last ditch tackle to keep Silva from getting a shot off. But it was Crispy that got the first shot of the night in the 4th minute.
Play was back and forth, with chances on both ends. While, in the meantime, Dortmund and Legia were playing an incredibly high scoring game that was hard not to watch.
In the 29th minute, however, Not-So-Baby Varane got his left foot to it to put it in!
In the 32nd minute, The Pony had to save our asses with his fab defending again.
Bale looked really good and was in creating chances and utilizing his speed for us. I’ve been missing that burst of speed from him lately. It’s there, but under utilized (opinion).
Marcelo picked up a yellow card in the 40th minute, for a bad tackle on Gelson just outside the area. Thankfully, the resulting freekick was just wide of the post.
The first half ended Sporting CP 0 – 1 Real Madrid
It took no time for Sporting to get their first chance of the half. Gelson was really having a go at Marcelo’s flank. It’s a good strategy, given Marcelo’s affinity for getting forward and not getting back to cover that flank.
Marcelo went down with an injury, but he got up and looked fine afterward.
Sporting continued to attack and looked like they would equalize. It was nerve-wracking. After such a good display against Atleti, this one was slightly less inspired by Team Pretty.
In the 58th minute, Ruiz received a yellow card for an obvious pull on Kovacic. In the same minute, Bale finally had to be subbed out for what we learned was an ankle injury. This injury fairy is being horribly mean to us! He was replace by Asensio.
Sporting’s first change was in the 62nd minute when Joel Campbell replaced Bruno Cesar.
In the 64th minute, Joao Pereira found himself on the receiving end of a red card after a clash with Kovacic.
In the 66th minute, Isco made way for Karim “I’m a War Kitten” Benzema.
In the 67th minute, Sporting followed the sub suit with Schelloto replacing Ruiz.
In the 71st minute, to a very unfavorable reaction, Marcelo was replaced by Fabio Coentrao. Guess that Benfica rivalry is still alive and well with Sporting fans (heh).
Sporting’s final change was to replace Dost with Andre Filipe in the 77th minute.
In the 80th minute, Sporting were awarded a penalty after a stupid handball by Fauxnando. It was such an idiotic thing to do. I hate it when they don’t just play to the whistle. That’s how things like this happen. SMH
Adrien Silva put the penalty away.
After some really good pressure from Sporting, Benz put us ahead again in the 87th minute with a fabulous header! Love our War Kitten!
Joel Campbell went in with a rash challenge on Dani in the 90th minute and earned a yellow card.
After 5 minutes of added time, that was it.
Sporting CP 1 – 2 Real Madrid
Zidane: “We had some tough moments but didn’t give up”
by Alberto Navarro (Lisbon)“To have gone so many games without losing is an extra motivation and we want to keep moving forward”, he added.
Zinedine Zidane took to the media room at the José Alvalade stadium to reflect on his side’s 2-1 away triumph over Sporting CP, a result which seals Real Madrid’s place in the last 16: “We had some tough moments during the game, but that was to be expected because we mentioned yesterday about how it was going to be a difficult match. Sporting CP showed good intensity and we had some difficulties”.
“The good thing is that we didn’t give up after they got their goal. We kept on playing and scored a very good goal to win the game. Now it’s time to rest because having to play every three days isn’t easy. Perhaps we lacked a bit of energy”.
“Going on tonight’s game, you might say that Sporting deserve to have more points on the board, but that’s the way things go and we now face a cup final against Borussia Dortmund”.
“It was difficult to win here and we got what we came for. Now we have to rest well, recover and think about the next game”.
Varane and Ramos’ positions
“Nothing changes. Sergio and Varane can play both on the right and on the left in the centre of defence.”
Bale and Marcelo injuries
“We took Marcelo off as a precaution. Bale has something wrong with his ankle, but we don’t exactly know what it is. It’s more of a twisted ankle. We don’t yet know what’s wrong with him. Tomorrow he’ll have a medical examination and we’ll know more”.
Thirty games undefeated
“What we want to do is to continue doing what we are doing, knowing that there are moments during the game where things are not going for us. To have gone so many games without losing is an extra motivation and we want to keep moving forward knowing that when you win matches you go out more motivated next time”.
“The best thing was the way we reacted to get ourselves back in front”, he commented.
Raphaël Varane netted the opener in the win over Sporting CP and highlighted the team’s togetherness as being a key factor in the Whites’ qualification for the last 16: “To win trophies you have to dig in altogether as a team. It was a tough game, but we didn’t give up and that’s what has seen us go on and get the win. We know that it’ll be tough, but we have to take things one game at a time and first of all we have to rest up and prepare for our next game”.
“We’re Real Madrid and we always go out to win. We’re not thinking about our possible opponents in the last 16. We’re just focused on winning and finishing top of the group”.
“The team played with good intensity, as we defended and attacked together. Playing as a compact unit is important, I hope that we continue on in this vein for some time to come. We don’t set ourselves any limits and we just have to keep fighting. On a personal level, I’m happy to be helping the team out with goals”.
“Benzema is really pleased after getting the goal. When he came on he changed the game and was involved a lot in the play. That’s positive because he’s a great player and is important for us”.
Ramos: “We’re now looking to finish top of the group”
“We know just how tough the Champions League is and this is a ground at which the home fans put you under pressure. The team did a good job, although perhaps in the second half we failed to go for the game and push for the second goal”.
“We were made to suffer in the end and they got an equaliser, but the best thing was the way we reacted. We continued to fight until the end and managed to get ourselves back in front”.
Qualification for the last 16
“Our aim was to get these three important points and we have to continue putting points on the board. We’re now looking to finish top of the ground, although we know that we now face very tough opposition in Borussia. We have to concentrate on LaLiga and there’ll then be time to prepare for that game”.
“You can’t go out and play every game in the same way. The approach is sometimes different and so are the opposition. There are a lot of things that influence whether a team plays in one way of another”.
“I’d never put the blame on a teammate. Mistakes are collective and every day it’s someone’s turn to make one. The important thing is that we won”.
Isco: “We had to dig in but we the three points are heading back to Madrid”
“It was an important game, we had to win at all costs and we’re happy with the result. After the sending-off we should have managed the game a bit better and been a little more patient. We had to dig in but the three points are heading back to Madrid.
“They’re a great side who play very good football, particularly on the counter-attack, where they’ve got some really pacey players. The key will be to perform as we did against Atleti, be patient on the ball and defend as a unit. We have to make the Bernabéu a fortress and we hope to get the three points”.
Kovacic: “It was a tough game”
“It was our second game in three days and you could see that we were a bit tired, but we got the three points and we must continue on in this vein. It was a very tough and difficult game. The whole team is on good form and I’m ready, just as I always am. We now have to focus on the LaLiga and there’ll be time to prepare for the Dortmund game”.
“I don’t know what happened. There was a foul and I was just speaking to him and then he punched me in the stomach. I think that the red card was fair, it was his fault”.
Coentrão: “I have to make the most of the minutes I get“
“I made a big mistake on the penalty. I have to be more focused in such situations and no be appealing for the handball. I appealed for it because I thought that’s what it was, but I can’t be doing that. It’ll be very tough to get playing time here. Marcelo is the best left-back in the world right now. I have to make the most of the minutes I get given, train more and give my all. I feel bad right now and can only alter that through hard work”.
Post-Match Social Media:
By now, we all know of Bale’s injury. This makes me sad but I hope the likes of Asensio or James can step up!
Our next match is Saturday against Sporting Gijon!
¡Hala Madrid y Nada Mas!