Monday 15 October 2018

Real warm up for Spurs clash as Barca held by Atletico

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: Getty Images
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: Getty Images

Richard Martin

Cristiano Ronaldo is not used to embarrassing situations, so imagine how he must have felt when he side-footed wide of an empty net from two yards out against Getafe on Saturday night.

The Portuguese had not scored a single league goal so far this campaign - suspended from the first four games for pushing a referee, he looked rusty in the three games since his return.

This was one of the worst misses of his career. His Real Madrid side were trudging in the 25-degree heat, drawing 1-1 with their lowly neighbours after blowing the lead, and risking falling even further behind leaders Barcelona.

With five minutes left, however, Ronaldo put his humiliation behind him, thrashing Isco's lofty pass under the grasp of Getafe's previously unrelenting goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

Ronaldo's stuttering season has mirrored Madrid's campaign.

At times, especially in uninspiring fixtures, the European and Spanish champions have looked a shadow of the all-conquering side of last season. Yet they are still capable of moments of brilliance and have reverted to type on the biggest occasions.

Ticking

Tuesday's meeting with Tottenham at the Bernabeu fits into that category, and Mauricio Pochettino's side will be well aware of what they face.

Even when Madrid are ticking along slowly, as they did against Getafe, they possess an embarrassment of attacking riches to bail them out - from Ronaldo to Karim Benzema, to Isco, Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio.

"We know we're capable of scoring at any moment," said manager Zinedine Zidane.

He was able to leave Luka Modric, Casemiro and Raphael Varane out against Getafe, although the trio can expect a recall against Tottenham.

Dani Carvajal is unavailable with a cardiac virus, meaning Achraf Hakimi could be in line for his Champions League debut.

First-choice goalkeeper Keylor Navas, meanwhile, is set to return from injury. Gareth Bale is unlikely to feature against his former side at the Bernabeu or Wembley in a fortnight's time as he recovers from a calf injury.

Meanwhile, Barcelona maintained their unbeaten record but lost their perfect one in a draw with Atletico Madrid.

Saul Niguez gave the home side the lead midway through the first half, but Barcelona got their deserved equaliser late in the day when Luis Suarez nodded home a Sergi Roberto cross, soon after Lionel Messi had struck the post.

It ended Barcelona's perfect start but preserved their unbeaten record, their lead over Real cut to five points.

Irish Independent

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