Champions League

Ronaldo, Morata rescue Real Madrid

2016-09-15 08:31
Cristiano Ronaldo (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata struck in the closing minutes to seal a stunning Real Madrid comeback to beat Sporting Lisbon 2-1 to start their Champions League defence on Wednesday.

Madrid looked to be heading for their first home defeat in the competition for five years after Bruno Cesar's low effort three minutes into the second-half handed Sporting a thorughly merited lead.

However, in a frantic finale, Ronaldo's free-kick levelled the game with two minutes remaining before Morata met James Rogriguez's cross deep into stoppage time to complete a dramatic fightback.

The clash pitted two of Europe's most in-form teams against one another with Madrid having won 15 La Liga games on top of claiming their 11th Champions League in May, while Sporting are on a 13-game winning streak in Portugal.

Yet, it was the visitors who looked by far the more confident as they bossed Madrid for the opening hour to the delight of the boisterous travelling thousands from Lisbon.

The pace of Gelson Martins caused the Madrid defence no end of problems and the diminutive winger had the first effort on goal when his low shot was turned away by Kiko Casilla.

Real's star front three of Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema started together for the first time this season, but all three looked rusty as a long-range effort from Ronaldo turned over by Rui Patricio was the only serious threat to the Sporting goal before halftime.

A dangerous Martins cross just evaded Dutch striker Bas Dost as Sporting continued to press before the break.

The visitors finally got their reward just three minutes into the second-half when Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos failed to clear and the ball fell kindly for Cesar to curl into the far corner.

Sporting boss Jorge Jesus's joy was short-lived as he was sent to the stands for protesting a dubious yellow card given the William Carvalho.

And it was Jesus's opposite number Zinedine Zidane who turned the game in Madrid's favour with three vital substitutions in the final quarter.

Zidane sacrificed Bale, Benzema and Toni Kroos for Lucas Vazquez, Morata and Rodriguez as Madrid piled on the pressure in the final 20 minutes.

Ronaldo looked to have missed his chance to net against the club where he started his career when he smashed against the post with eight minutes remaining.

However, the three-time World Player of the Year, who was given a rousing reception by the Sporting fans before kick-off, curled home a free-kick that just had too much power for his Portuguese international teammate Rui Patricio.

Ronaldo refused to celebrate his goal, but there was no shortage of celebrations just moments later when Morata met Rodriguez's in-swinging cross with a bullet header to deny Sporting in the cruellest of circumstances.

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Tuesday, 31 October 2017
Celtic v Bayern Munchen, Celtic Park 21:45
Sporting CP v Juventus, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Atletico Madrid v Qarabag, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:45
Manchester United v Benfica, Old Trafford 21:45
PSG v Anderlecht, Parc des Princes 21:45
Basel v CSKA Moskva, St. Jakob-Park 21:45
Olympiakos Piraeus v Barcelona, Stadio Georgios Karaiskaki 21:45
Roma v Chelsea, Stadio Olimpico 21:45
Wednesday, 01 November 2017
Besiktas v Monaco, Vodafone Stadyumu 19:00
Liverpool v Maribor, Anfield 21:45
Porto v RB Leipzig, Estadio Do Dragao 21:45
Sevilla v Spartak Moskva, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Shakhtar Donetsk v Feyenoord, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v APOEL, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:45
Napoli v Manchester City, Stadio San Paolo 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid, Wembley Stadium 21:45
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Spartak Moskva v Maribor, Otkrytiye Arena 19:00
Besiktas v Porto, Vodafone Stadyumu 19:00
Sevilla v Liverpool, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Manchester City v Feyenoord, Etihad Stadium 21:45
APOEL v Real Madrid, Neo GSP 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham Hotspur, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:45
Monaco v RB Leipzig, Stade Louis II. 21:45
Napoli v Shakhtar Donetsk, Stadio San Paolo 21:45
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Qarabag v Chelsea, Bakı Olimpiya Stadionu 19:00
CSKA Moskva v Benfica, VEB Arena 19:00
Juventus v Barcelona, Allianz Stadium 21:45
Sporting CP v Olympiakos Piraeus, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Atletico Madrid v Roma, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:45
PSG v Celtic, Parc des Princes 21:45
Basel v Manchester United, St. Jakob-Park 21:45
Anderlecht v Bayern Munchen, Stade Constant Vanden Stock 21:45
Tuesday, 05 December 2017
Bayern Munchen v PSG, Allianz-Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Sporting CP, Camp Nou 21:45
Celtic v Anderlecht, Celtic Park 21:45
Benfica v Basel, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 21:45
Manchester United v CSKA Moskva, Old Trafford 21:45
Olympiakos Piraeus v Juventus, Stadio Georgios Karaiskaki 21:45
Roma v Qarabag, Stadio Olimpico 21:45
Chelsea v Atletico Madrid, Stamford Bridge 21:45
Wednesday, 06 December 2017
Liverpool v Spartak Moskva, Anfield 21:45
Porto v Monaco, Estadio Do Dragao 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Maribor v Sevilla, Ljudski vrt 21:45
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:45
RB Leipzig v Besiktas, Red Bull Arena 21:45
Feyenoord v Napoli, Stadion Feijenoord 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v APOEL, Wembley Stadium 21:45
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