Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has nothing but praises for his squad’s unyielding spirit in last night’s game against Lisbon club side Sporting CP. The Spanish giants sneaked from behind to grab a win against their visitors in this year’s Champions League Group F opener.
Bruno Cesar’s first-half strike broke Madrid’s heart but they fought on real hard until Cristiano Ronaldo fired an 89th-minute free-kick to equalize against his former club.
While the pressure of a draw lingered at the Santiago Bernabeu, Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez came in as substitutes to overhaul the team’s tactics.
Shortly after the subs, former Juventus star Moratta netted a header to give Madrid a deserved win.
Image shows Cristiano Ronaldo celebrating with teammates after scoring for Real Madrid.
For Zinedine Zidane, his best explanation on his side’s last-gasp win against Sporting CP on Wednesday was: “This is Real Madrid!”
“We are happy because we kept going until the end, we didn’t give up,” the Coach told UEFA’s official website.
“Sometimes you meet an opponent who play very well but our players were tremendous, they made an enormous effort and they got their just reward.
“It’s a Coach’s job to make substitutions and we’re happy that they paid off. You make substitutions in order to change the game and that’s what happened today.
“This is Real Madrid and we know we can always turn things around in a minute. We played a little better after conceding and we finally did it.”
He added: “It wasn’t a perfect match but the important thing was to win and later we will analyse things. We can play better, especially in the first half.
“In a game like that, when you take three points from such a hard game, it shows a lot of quality. Today, we suffered but we got the three points.
“The three substitutes all gave us something when they came on. I’m happy with all three. They took it to us, especially in the first period. After they scored we took more control of the ball.
Alvaro Morata celebrates after scoring against Sporting CP.
“I don’t know if the result was fair or not, but it’s clear we believed. You have to play until the end, change things and the good thing is we’re a focused, united team.
“We know that we can make the difference at any time. It wasn’t a perfect match; you never see a perfect match but the important thing was to win.
“Later we’ll analyse things. There’s nothing in particular to single out what I didn’t like. We can play better, especially in the first half.
“There’s two sides playing and they went to war with us. It’s the Champions League; there’s nothing easy in football, especially the Champions League.
“Benzema hasn’t played a lot but he played well. He’s been a starter for a long time and it’s normal his comeback is slow.
“We can always improve, he can but it’s the beginning of the season. All the team are focused, committed, hardworking and know at all times they can contribute in a positive way to the team.
“We’re Real Madrid. We know every game will be hard and that players who come here will make life difficult.
“But we also know that we can make the difference. We never gave up and fought hard.”
Real Madrid 2-1 Sporting CP
Ronaldo 89, Morata 90 (RM) Cesar 47 (S)
Real Madrid: Casilla; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos (James 77), Modric, Casemiro; Bale (Vazquez 67), Benzema (Morata 67), Ronaldo
Sporting CP: Patricio; Pereira, Coates, Semedo, Marvin; William; Gelson (Markovic 70), Adrien, Cesar; Ruiz (Campbell 90), Dost
Referee: Tagliavento [ITA]