Real Madrid a draw away from Spanish title after win over Celta

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo kicks to score the opener during the Spanish league football match RC Celta de Vigo vs. Real Madrid CF at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 18 May 2017
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Real Madrid a draw away from Spanish title after win over Celta

MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo has taken Real Madrid to the verge of its first Spanish league title in five years.
Ronaldo scored early in each half as Madrid defeated 10-man Celta Vigo 4-1 on Wednesday to retake the league lead from Barcelona and move within a point of winning the title.
A draw at mid-table Malaga in the final round on Sunday will allow Madrid to lift the trophy and avoid its longest title drought in La Liga since the 1980s.
“One game to go,” Ronaldo said. “We have to keep going until the end.”
The victory at Celta in a game postponed from February because of bad weather gave Madrid a three-point lead over Barcelona, which hosts eighth-place Eibar in its final match on Sunday. The Catalan club still has a chance of winning its third straight title because of a better head-to-head tiebreaker.
“We played with a very good attitude, with a lot of determination and personality,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “We knew that the three points were the most important thing, but we went out there to play, the win was only a consequence.”
Madrid played with an extra man after the controversial sending off of Celta forward Iago Aspas, who picked up a second yellow in the 62nd minute for an alleged dive inside the area after a challenge by Madrid defender Sergio Ramos.
Celta players loudly complained, and there were more complaints a few moments later when Ronaldo fell inside the other box in an apparent flop — but was not shown a yellow card that would have suspended him from the final round.
Ronaldo opened the scoring at the Balaidos Stadium after picking up the ball just outside the area and firing a firm left-foot shot into the corner. The ball went through the legs of defender Gustavo Cabral and gave goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez no chance.
Ronaldo added to the lead after halftime with a well-placed shot from inside the area after receiving a perfectly timed pass by Francisco “Isco” Alarcon in a breakaway.
It was Ronaldo’s 13th goal in his last eight matches, and 24th in league. The Portugal star missed the chance for a hat trick in the 75th minute, incredibly missing from close range with only the goalkeeper to beat.
“I did the hardest part, which was to score the first goal and then the second,” Ronaldo said. “Obviously it’s not common for me to miss like that, but it can happen, I’m human and I also make mistakes.”
Ronaldo had not played an away match in the league since March, a run of four straight games.
Celta, with nothing left to play for, improved after conceding the first goal and started to threaten, with Aspas creating a series of chances. But its hopes of a comeback started to sink after Ronaldo found the net for the second time, and then sank further after Aspas was dismissed.
Celta’s lone goal was scored by John Guidetti with a shot from outside the area in the 69th, just a minute before Karim Benzema restored Madrid’s two-goal lead from close range after a left-flank cross by Marcelo. Toni Kroos completed the scoring in the 88th.
Celta had eliminated Zidane’s team from the Copa del Rey quarterfinals this year, beating Madrid 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and drawing 2-2 at the Balaidos. It reached the semifinals of the Europa League, being eliminated by Manchester United.
The game against Celta was originally scheduled to be played on Feb. 5 but was postponed because heavy winds damaged the roof of the Balaidos, making it unsafe for players and spectators.
Madrid wanted to avoid Celta so late in the season, but there were no other dates available as Celta was in the Europa League and Madrid in the Champions League. Madrid will play Juventus in the Champions League final on June 3.


Iranian fans attempt to disrupt Portugal’s sleep at hotel

Updated 25 June 2018
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Iranian fans attempt to disrupt Portugal’s sleep at hotel

  • Hundreds of Iranian fans spent several overnight hours surrounding the hotel where Portugal’s national team is based
  • Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was filmed by Portuguese TV RTP late at night by the window using gestures to ask the Iranian fans to be silent

SARANSK: Hundreds of Iranian fans spent several overnight hours surrounding the hotel where Portugal’s national team is based, making loud noises in an attempt to disrupt their opponents’ sleep before a decisive World Cup match later Monday.
Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was filmed by Portuguese TV RTP late at night by the window using gestures to ask the Iranian fans to be silent, but Monday morning there were still a few dozen of them playing loud music near the hotel in the Saransk city center.
Iran can only advance to the next stage of the World Cup if it beats the European champions. Portugal only needs a draw, but also aims to take the top position in Group B ahead of Spain.
Saransk police said they received their first calls about the noise about 11 p.m. Sunday, when a first wave of Iran fans arrived and started singing outside the hotel. That forced Ronaldo to show up, which convinced supporters to leave.
Then a second wave came and did not stop making noise for several hours. Police then blocked roads nearby, but the main avenue across the hotel was still open, which allowed Iran fans to keep their effort in smaller numbers.
Iran fan and IT consultant Mehdi Fayez arrived Monday morning after reading messages from supporters saying they needed to trouble Portugal to stand a better chance of winning the match.
“I love Ronaldo, I love Portugal, but this is a big game. We have to do all it takes,” a still joyful Fayez said, as he held an Iranian flag on the back of his head.
Montreh Fayoud, one of the several Iranian women that are attending their first World Cup, disagreed.
“We were coming back from dinner and saw all these Iranians here. When I found the reason, I decided to leave,” she said.
At about noon on Monday Portugal players had a quick walk around the hotel, but it is uncertain whether they will walk around the city as they did before other matches in Russia.