• Big game Ronaldo strikes again for Zidane

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    MADRID: Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane hailed Cristiano Ronaldo’s capacity to deliver when his side needs him most in big games after the Portuguese netted twice in Sunday’s (Monday in Manila) 4-1 rout of Sevilla.

    Victory moved Madrid one step closer to a first La Liga title for five years as they now need just four points from their final two games at Celta Vigo and Malaga to see off Barcelona’s challenge.

    However, there were nervous moments around the Santiago Bernabeu when Stefan Jovetic brought Sevilla back into the game after Nacho’s quickly taken free-kick and Ronaldo’s 400th goal for Madrid had given the hosts’ a 2-0 half-time lead.

    Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (left) celebrates a goal during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs Sevilla FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Monday. AFP PHOTO

    Ronaldo, though, restored Madrid’s two-goal lead in stunning fashion by blasting in off the underside of the bar 12 minutes from time before Toni Kroos rounded off the scoring.

    “It was a good pass from Kroos, he sees the gap and he puts it in,” Zidane said of Ronaldo’s second.

    “More than the goal it is what he is doing right now. He is always there in the decisive moments.”

    Madrid are tied with Barca at the top of the table on 87 points.

    But Zidane’s men have the upper hand as they have two games left to Barca’s one.

    Real’s game in hand comes at Celta on Wednesday in a match postponed from February due to storm damage at Celta’s Balaidos stadium.

    And Zidane refused to be distracted over whether it is a disadvantage to have to play twice in the final week of the season rather than having points on the board.

    “We can’t think about that, we have a game to play on Wednesday,” added the Frenchman.

    “The good thing is that we are ending the season very strong physically and we know everything is on the line in these final games.”

    Zidane looks set to make the most of his strength in depth once more in midweek after making five changes from the side that booked Madrid’s place in the Champions League final on Wednesday against Atletico Madrid for Sevilla’s visit.

    “This team has a lot of resources and what I like is that it also has personality.

    “When there are difficult moments we know how to turn it around.”

    AFP

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