Ronaldo backheel earns Real late draw, Valencia lose

Annette Crawford
April 19, 2018

In as much as it looked to have spurred them on, it only took them a step back as Inaki Williams got onto a through ball to delicately lob the on-rushing Navas on 14 minutes to steal a shock lead.

Athletic's gameplan was evident to frustrate Real and use Williams' pace on the break, which bore fruit from their only risky attack of the first half.

Inigo Cordoba received the ball on the half turn and with nobody near him, threaded the ball inside Ramos.

But the man guarding the Athletic goal here on Wednesday, Kepa Arrizabalaga, focused exclusively on the task at hand and the display he put on at the Bernabeu is likely to give Zidane second thoughts about his decision against signing the visiting goalkeeper when he had the opportunity.

The 6-2 away win over Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday was "a demonstration of footballing quality", said the former Bayern and Inter Milan player who will welcome Zinedine Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo and the Allianz Arena next Wednesday. Bale starts on the bench.

Both sides threatened from the off, but the Basques enjoyed the first concrete chance of the night as Ander Iturraspe beat the offside trap on seven minutes, going on to fire low and drawing a save from Keylor Navas.

Marco Asensio should have extended Kepa again when he blazed wastefully over in the 22nd minute and the 23-year-old showed lightning reactions after the half hour as Raphael Varane glanced Kroos' free-kick goalwards.

The home keeper then got help from Marcelo, who stood on the goal line to block Cordoba's effort, before Raul Garcia hit the cross-bar.

The ball broke to Modric and his drive towards goal was expertly guided past Arrizabalaga by Ronaldo with just three minutes remaining. "We struggled in the second half a little bit more".

Ultimately, the draw worked in Real's favour, with fourth-placed Valencia losing at home to Getafe, while a first point at the Bernabeu since 2005 was always a good result for Athletic.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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