MADRID: A substituted Cristiano Ronaldo cut a disconsolate figure as Real Madrid conceded a late equalizer to draw 2-2 at Las Palmas on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Ronaldo was replaced moments after helping Madrid go 2-1 in front when Karim Benzema slotted home the rebound after the Portuguese’s initial effort was saved.
However, he watched on as Sergio Araujo took advantage of some soft Madrid defending to level as the European champions dropped points for the second time in four days.
Stung by a poor first-half performance in a 1-1 draw with Villarreal in midweek that snapped a 16-game La Liga winning streak, Madrid pressed high from the off and had 17 shots in a wide open first 45 minutes.
Las Palmas ‘keeper Javi Varas repelled Alvaro Morata’s powerful header before Ronaldo fluffed his lines when presented with a glorious chance from Morata’s cutback.
Eventually Real made the breakthrough just after the half-hour mark when Varas made another fine save from Nacho’s low effort, but Marco Asensio followed up to head into an empty net.
The lead lasted just five minutes, though, as Raphael Varane’s poor defensive header fell at the feet of Tana, who slotted past the helpless Kiko Casilla.
More Varas heroics denied Gareth Bale either side of half time as the Welshman saw two fierce drives beaten to safety.
Varas also saved from Ronaldo midway through the second half, but substitute Benzema was on hand to turn home the loose ball.
Ronaldo was then replaced by Lucas Vazquez, but didn’t acknowledge coach Zinedine Zidane as he sulked off the field.
And the three-time World Player of the Year’s mood worsened when Araujo slotted home the equalizer five minutes from time.
Ronaldo has to live with being subbed – Zidane
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insisted Cristiano Ronaldo has to learn to live with being substituted after sulking off the field visibly frustrated in the European champions’ 2-2 draw at Las Palmas.
Zidane replaced the three-time World Player of the Year with Madrid leading 2-1 18 minutes from time, but an unhappy Ronaldo watched from the bench as Sergio Araujo equalised to ensure Real dropped points for the second time in four days.
“I have to take him off sometimes and tonight we did it,” said Zidane.
“That isn’t going to change what we are going to do continue to do.”
At the forefront of Zidane’s mind was Real’s huge Champions League clash away to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
However, Ronaldo endured a poor night in front of goal as he fluffed a great chance from Alvaro Morata’s cutback before half time and fired straight at Javi Varas in the build-up to Madrid’s second goal.
“We have a game on Tuesday and I thought it was the time to take him off, 20 minutes from the end, thinking about Tuesday,” added Zidane.
“I know he always wants to play and always wants to stay on the field, but I also have to think about the players and for me it was best to rest and think about Tuesday.”