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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Football

Real, Ronaldo split wide open
AFP
Madrid, February 04, 2013
First Published: 00:26 IST(4/2/2013)
Last Updated: 00:30 IST(4/2/2013)
It was a horrible night for Cristiano Ronaldo who not only failed to get a goal but also ignominiously scored an own-goal in Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat to Granada. Reuters photo

Real Madrid's dismal season went from bad to worse when Cristiano Ronaldo scored an own-goal to hand relegation-threatened Granada a shock 1-0 win on Saturday.

Real coach Jose Mourinho announced he had already given up winning the league before Christmas and this latest blow means that Barcelona can increase their lead over them to 18 points if they win away to Valencia late on Sunday night. There were doubts over whether or not Ronaldo would play as he is struggling with an ankle injury and his mood didn't improve when he headed a Granada corner into his own goal after 22 minutes.

Real had scored nine goals in their last two league games but they lacked the necessary drive perhaps as a result of a draining El Clasico in midweek where they scraped a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their King's Cup tie with Barcelona.

With Iker Casillas injured, Mourinho once again put his confidence in Diego Lopez in goal rather than youth product Antonio Adan while Raphael Varane also kept his place after an inspirational performance against Barca. It was a baptism of fire for Granada coach Lucas Alcaraz who only had a few training sessions with the team after being appointed this week with the side only a place above the relegation zone.

Spurs beat baggies
West Bromwich: Tottenham Hotspur overcame an injury to Jermain Defoe to win 1-0 at 10-man West Bromwich Albion on Sunday and close to within a point of third-placed Chelsea in the Premier League.

Defoe's injury means Spurs coach Andre Villas-Boas could come to regret not signing an additional striker in the January transfer window, but Spurs' Welsh winger Gareth Bale showed he knows where the goal is with a superb 67th-minute winner.

It capped another man-of-the-match display by the 23-year-old winger and enabled Spurs to capitalise on the dismissal of West Brom left-back Goran Popov for spitting early in the second half.


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