REPORT | 14/09/2016 | Alberto NavarroA headed effort from the academy product and a spectacular Ronaldo free-kick hand Real Madrid victory over Sporting CP.
- Champions League
- Matchday 1 (Group stage)
The first period was an even affair and the sides went in goalless in an opening half that was short on goalscoring opportunities. With nine minutes on the clock, Kiko Casilla was on hand to turn away a Gelson Martins effort that was heading for the far corner. Cristiano Ronaldo came close to breaking the deadlock on 27 minutes with an shot from distance which Rui Patricio pushed behind for a corner and the Portuguese forward nearly made the breakthrough in the 43rd minute, only to see his free-kick skim off the crossbar.
Real Madrid trail
The second half - which panned out very differently to the first - couldn't have got off to a worse start for the hosts. After a series of ricochets, Bruno César drilled the ball into the far corner to hand the Portuguese outfit a 47th-minute lead. If Zidane's side were to win, they would have to come from behind, but until the final whistle sounds, you can never say never with Real Madrid. The Whites were determined to claw themselves back into the game and from then on in they laid siege to the visitors' goal.
Sporting CP already found themselves pinned back into their own area when Dani Carvajal came within inches of restoring parity. The right-back connected with a fine Lucas Vázquez cross but his effort flew narrowly wide of the target.
Real Madrid went on to carve out a string of chances and in the final ten minutes it was very much a case of one-way traffic. In their quest to get back on terms, the Whites were failing to get the rub of the green. Lucas Vázquez shaped in a cross on 83 minutes and just when the home faithful were on their feet to celebrate the equaliser, Cristiano Ronaldo's left-footed strike crashed off the woodwork. A minute later, Carvajal once again tried his luck, after James floated in a fine cross and the academy graduate arrived late on the scene to hit the ball on the volley, but his effort flew just wide of the target.
It was just a matter of time before the hosts would find an equaliser and it eventually materialised on 89 minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo produced a sumptuous free-kick from the edge of the area, and despite the diving Rui Patricio getting a hand to the ball, he couldn't prevent the effort from ending up in his net.
Morata claims the winner
Real Madrid can simply never be ruled out, particularly at the Bernabéu. With the game now into injury time, James brought the ball under control, lifted his head up and sent in an inch-perfect cross and there was Álvaro Morata to power home a towering header to secure victory for the Whites and hand the European champions' their first win of this season's Champions League campaign.