The iconic player, Cristiano Ronaldo, and his team mate Alvaro Morata struck in the last minutes of a dying horse, sealing a stunning Real Madrid comeback to beat Sporting Lisbon 2-1 to start their Champions League defence.
Madrid was almost heading for their first home defeat in the competition for five years yesterday after Bruno Cesar’s low effort three minutes into the second-half handed Sporting lead.
However, Ronaldo’s free-kick leveled the game with two minutes remaining before Morata converted James Rogriguez’s 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, whilst Sporting are on a 13-game winning streak in Portugal.
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.
Zidane sacrificed Bale, Benzema and Toni Kroos for Lucas Vazquez, Morata and Rodriguez as Madrid piled on the pressure in the final 20 minutes.
Real Madrid boss, Zinedine Zidane, lauded his team’s fighting spirit after their late 2-1 comeback victory against Sporting Lisbon.
“We are happy because we kept going until the end and we didn’t give up,” Zidane told the media following the match.
“Sometimes you meet an opponent who plays very well but our players were tremendous, they made an enormous effort and they got their just reward.
“I don’t know if the result was fair or not, but it’s clear we believed.
“You have to play until the end, change things, and the good thing is we are focused and a united team.”
“It wasn’t a perfect match but the important thing was to win and later we will analyse things. We can play better, especially in the first half.
“In a game like that when you take three points from such a hard game it shows a lot of quality. Today we suffered but we got the three points.”
Explaining the reason why he never celebrated scoring against his childhood club, the former Red Devilsstar said the club has a place in his heart.
“It was against the team where I learned my trade,” Ronaldo said, via the club’s website.
“The club has a place in my heart and I have a lot of respect for them.
“That’s why I couldn’t celebrate it.”