RONALDO SAVES THE DAY
By: Raymond Padya
Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals Wednesday night against Elche, to see his team maintain a non-defeated streak this season in the Spanish La Liga.
Trailing with only two points from Barcelona, the league leaders and Atletico Madrid, on the second spot; Carlo Ancelotti’s side struggled in securing their third spot. However, thanks to Ronaldo’s brilliance, R Madrid managed to maintain its position.
It was Madrid’s first visit in 24 years to visit Elche, and the La Liga number 20 did not make it easy for the Spanish giants. It took an amazing free kick and a late controversial penalty from Ronaldo, for Madrid to secure a 2 – 1 win, with Richmond Boakye also placing his team on the score sheet with what seemed to be a late goal.
The Elche defense was too strong for Madrid to penetrate in the first half. Ronaldo started with an early attack in the 2nd minute of the match but his shot was deflected and went out for a corner.
Madrid’s Diego Lopez proved to be an obstacle for the home side in the first half. He made excellent saves from Javi Marquez and Carlos Gil whose attempts may have sealed Real Madrid’s fate.
Elche had a very good game until a defender tripped Ronaldo near the box. The Portuguese, using his signature stance, hit the ball through the wall, through Manuel Herrera’s hands and it found the back of the net. What a euphoric moment for Madrid.
Additional time came and the match seemed to be in Ancelotti’s pocket when Boakye equalised for his team with a header. Madrid almost settled for a draw but Pepe, the Real Madrid center back was awarded a controversial penalty kick that sealed the fate of Elche. Ronaldo took the penalty brilliantly in the 96th minute and Madrid secured their 3 points.
The Real Madrid coach was not impressed with his team’s performance despite the win as they face Atletico Madrid on the weekend. “We have to play better,” admitted Ancelotti to Sky Sports. “If we play as we did tonight we will not win the derby.”
Ancelotti wasn’t the only one who was not impressed with the game; Edu Albacar felt that his team was robbed off the matched. “The first goal came from a free-kick that wasn’t one. We have conceded twice to fouls that have not been. We leave with the feeling of having been robbed,” he said.