Zinedine Zidane praises Real Madrid’s fighting spirit in Europe

first_imgReal Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane praised their battling display against Sporting Lisbon as they claimed a place in the Champions League knockout stages with a scrappy 2-1 win on Tuesday.Karim Benzema’s 87th minute header gave Real victory after they let 10-man Sporting back into the game following Joao Pereira’s red card – the third time in five Champions League games this season a late goal has got them out of trouble. (Also read: Dortmund break Champions League record, Real and Leicester advance to last 16) “We had difficult moments but that’s what you expect and what we knew could happen, but once again we refused to give up,” said Zidane.”We kept playing after conceding and scored a great goal thanks to Karim. It’s obvious that playing every three days is not easy and we lacked a bit of energy.”Real also beat Sporting 2-1 back in September with two late goals and drew 3-3 at Legia Warsaw with an 85th minute equaliser from Mateo Kovacic.The win stretches Real’s unbeaten run in all competitions to 30 games, two short of a club record of 32 matches without defeat set by Leo Beenhakker’s side in 1989.”These 30 games are an extra motivation for us to keep working as we are. We want to keep doing what we’re doing, while being aware that there will always be moments in games when we suffer,” added the Real coach.”We’re going to keep going like this but I don’t know for how long because it’s not easy for us physically.”advertisementCOENTRAO ERRORReal defender Fabio Coentrao was critical of himself after throwing his hands up to appeal for handball against Sporting’s Joel Campbell and in the process handling it himself to concede the penalty Adrien Silva scored in the 80th minute.”It was a very serious error, I messed up really badly,” he said. “I appealed for handball but I shouldn’t have done, I should have been more concentrated.”Real are second in Group F, two points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, and will battle it out with the Germans in a fortnight’s time for top spot.Spanish newspaper AS pointed out on Wednesday that finishing runners-up in the group could serve Real better than coming top as they could potentially avoid sides such as Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Bayern Munich.If Real finish second, they would also avoid fellow Spanish sides Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and could be paired with the likes of Leicester City or Monaco.Real defender Raphael Varane, however, said they were fully focused on topping the group.”We don’t think about who we could get in the next round, we only think about winning and finishing first in the group.”last_img read more

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Indian men’s hockey team draws 1-1 with Australia A

first_imgA late goal by dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh helped the Indian men’s hockey team salvage a 1-1 draw against Australia ‘A’ here Monday.India made two good saves in the initial minutes of the first quarter while defending back-to-back penalty corners. The attempts somewhat made up for an average start by the visitors with the Australia ‘A’ attack putting the team under pressure right from the start.India suffered a setback in the 21st minute when Kiran Arunasalam struck a fine field goal for Australia ‘A.’India’s inability to convert chances created in the striking circle and missing out on three PCs dented their fightback. Their defence, on the other hand, was able to contain the home team from extending their lead.It was in Harmanpreet’s second attempt, in the 56th minute, that saw him convert a well-timed, powerful drag flick to equalise.”We had a poor start in the first ten minutes of the game which was a complete opposite to how we played on Friday. We slowly got back into the game in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters and also created enough opportunities to win the game,” Indian chief coach, Graham Reid said.”On Wednesday we will need to start much better and play well in all four quarters. In tomorrow’s practice session we will be working on our connections especially in the midfield,” he added.India will next take on the Australian national side and if the visitors are to emerge on top, Reid said the team will need to start much better and keep the pressure on their opponents in all four quarters.advertisementAlso Read | Indian men’s hockey team wins 3-0 against Australia AAlso Read | India men’s hockey team to join FIH Pro League from 2020last_img read more

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