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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Ronaldo backheel earns Real late draw

Football Briefs: Ronaldo backheel earns Real late draw

April 19, 2018 08:33 IST

News of all that's transpired on and off the football field

Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo's superb backheel late in the game earned Real Madrid a point in a 1-1 La Liga draw with Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu stadium on Wednesday.

The Portuguese forward flicked Luka Modric's low drive into the back of the net in the 87th minute with a deft touch, his 24th league goal of the season cancelling out a first-half chipped goal from Inaki Williams for the visitors.

 

Real were set for defeat until Ronaldo, who also hit the bar with a header early on, struck with his 24th league goal of the season to snatch the draw that left them third on 68 points after 33 games.

They are three points behind cross-city rivals Atletico, who play their game in hand at Real Sociedad on Thursday. Barcelona lead the way on 83 points, 12 clear of Atletico.

"I'm not happy with the result, it's not positive for us. We played well, above all in the first half," Real coach Zinedine Zidane said.

Raul Garcia wasted an excellent chance to double Bilbao's lead before Ronaldo's goal, striking the crossbar with Keylor Navas out of position after a scramble in the box.

Bilbao came close to earning their first victory at the Bernabeu since 2005 but Ronaldo denied them, finally netting for Real after the hosts wasted a string of chances.

Athletic goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga made superb saves to deny Raphael Varane and Marco A

IMAGE: Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo in action.Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Germany.

Zidane picked a strong side, with his team not due to play their league match against Sevilla at the weekend because the Andalusians are playing in the King's Cup final against Barcelona.

"It's true that we are thinking about Bayern Munich, but not when we were playing. We have a week to work on that, we're doing well. We're confident and we are playing well," Real winger Lucas Vazquez said.

Earlier on Wednesday, fourth-placed Valencia lost 2-1 at home to Getafe and had Dani Parejo sent off for an elbow on Jorge Molina.

The defeat left Valencia three points behind Real Madrid.

Kovac's Eintracht stun Schalke to set up final with Bayern

Eintracht Frankfurt's Luka Jovic scored a 75th minute winner to stun hosts Schalke 04 1-0 and earn his manager Niko Kovac a date with Bayern Munich, the club he will coach from next season, in the German Cup final.

Eintracht, losing finalists last year, will get their chance for silverware again when they take on overwhelming favourites Bayern, 6-2 winners against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday, in the final in Berlin on May 19.

The 20-year-old Jovic stabbed in from a corner against the run of play to set up an extraordinary final clash for Kovac.

The Croat this week signed a three-year contract at Bayern from next season, leaving Frankfurt angry with the Bundesliga champions over the poaching of their coach, who has turned them from relegation candidates into European hopefuls this season.

The game at Schalke lacked the fireworks of Bayern's semi-final and needed more than an hour to catch light with the hosts having the far better chances.

Guido Burgstaller twice came close and forced a few superb saves from Lukas Hradecky but they could not convert any of them before their opponents struck from a set piece.

Eintracht were left with 10 men in the 81st minute when substitute Gelson Ferdandes, who had only been on the pitch for 33 seconds, was shown a straight red card for a rough challenge on Leon Goretzka.

Schalke tried desperately to find an equaliser and actually had the ball in the net deep into stoppage time only for the referee to rule it out for handball.

PSG stay on course for treble with Cup semi-final win

Paris St Germain took a big step towards a domestic treble when they reached the French Cup final with a 3-1 win at Caen.

Kylian Mbappe's double and a last-gasp goal by Christopher Nkunku set up a final showdown against third division Les Herbiers on May 8 at the Stade de France.

PSG, who were crowned Ligue 1 champions on Sunday and won the League Cup, went ahead on 25 minutes when France striker Mbappe scored from close range when he deflected home Edinson Cavani's attempt on goal. Caen pushed for an equaliser they got two minutes before the break, Ismael Diomande beating Kevin Trapp with a 20-metre shot.

PSG doubled their tally nine minutes from time as Mbappe latched on to Cavani’s cross. The visitors sealed the win one minute into stoppage time when Nkunku netted from close range after a neat one-two with Dani Alves.

Napoli hit back twice to beat Udinese and cut Juve's lead

Napoli added a new twist to the Serie A title race when they twice came from behind to beat Udinese 4-2 on Wednesday and cut Juventus' lead to four points after the Turin side were held 1-1 at relegation-threatened Crotone.

Crotone striker Simy scored with a bicycle kick that Cristiano Ronaldo would have been proud of to peg back leaders Juventus who host second-placed Napoli in a potential title showdown on Sunday.

Fiorentina forward Jordan Veretout scored a hat-trick but was on the losing side in a 4-3 home defeat by Lazio in which two players were sent off in the first 15 minutes, visiting coach Simone Inzaghi was dismissed and a penalty was revoked by VAR.

Juventus, chasing a seventh successive title, lead with 85 points, followed by Napoli on 81 with AS Roma and Lazio on 64 in the other two Champions League places.

At one point in the evening, it looked as if Juve could go nine points clear as they led and Napoli fell behind.

Alex Sandro scored with a glancing header in the 17th minute for the champions but they were stunned by Simy's second-half effort.

A loose ball bounced up into the area and the Nigerian, with his back to goal, leapt into the air and acrobatically fired past Wojciech Szczesny.

Crotone remained in the drop zone, one point adrift of SPAL who drew 0-0 at home to Chievo.

Udinese, who had lost their previous nine league games, stunned Napoli with a goal by Jakub Jankto four minutes before halftime.

In other games, Champions League semi-finalists AS Roma beat Genoa 2-1 while Torino and AC Milan drew 1-1 after Andrea Belotti missed an early penalty for the hosts.

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