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Ronaldo and Morata condemn Sporting to late defeat

Goals at the death from Cristiano Ronaldo, against his first club, and Álvaro Morata turned what was set to be a home loss against Sporting CP into a 2-1 Real Madrid victory.

Matchday 1 highlights: See Madrid's dramatic win against Sporting
Matchday 1 highlights: See Madrid's dramatic win against Sporting

Cristiano Ronaldo helped rescue Real Madrid against the club of his youth as the UEFA Champions League holders came from behind to beat Sporting CP with two last-gasp goals.

The Lions were on course for a shock victory at the Santiago Bernabéu when Bruno César deservedly put them ahead at the beginning of the second half. With a minute remaining, however, Ronaldo – who had earlier rattled the upright – curled in a free-kick that Rui Patrício could only tip onto his left-hand post and in.

Deep into added time and with Sporting now clinging on for a point, Álvaro Morata headed in a left-wing cross from fellow substitute James Rodríguez.

Key player: Cristiano Ronaldo
The former Sporting prodigy came back to haunt his former employers and launch the kind of dramatic fightback that Madrid are becoming synonymous with in the UEFA Champions League.

Initially it was a frustrating night for the No7, who missed a couple of chances you would normally expect him to bury, yet he showed his class in stepping up to the plate when his side needed it most. His free-kick was unstoppable and helped achieve three points that seemed unattainable for such a long time.

Cristiano Ronaldo expertly bends in the equaliser
Cristiano Ronaldo expertly bends in the equaliser©AFP/Getty Images

Jesus's tactics nearly pay off
Jorge Jesus said in his pre-match press conference that Sporting would treat Madrid as an equal and his tactical set-up was close to perfect for 89 minutes. His initial 4-3-3 soon reverted to a familiar 4-4-2 that closed down the hosts' danger men and allowed a solid base from which to counterattack. It was a case of so near yet so far, but Sporting's display showed that they mean business in Group F.

Reporters' view

Joe Walker, Real Madrid (@UEFAcomJoeW)
What a finish! Or more pertinently, how did Madrid win that? Second best for the vast majority of that game, they pulled it out of the bag. Zinédine Zidane, also, was second best in the tactics department all night, but credit where it is due in that his substitute Morata headed the winner. Jesus got his game plan spot on and looked to have pulled off a famous win.

Reaction

Zinédine Zidane
Zinédine Zidane©Getty Images

Zinédine Zidane, Real Madrid coach
We are happy because we kept going until the end, we didn't give up. Sometimes you meet an opponent who play very well but our players were tremendous, they put in an enormous effort and got their just reward. This is Real Madrid and we know we can always turn things around in a minute. We played a little better after conceding and eventually we did it.

Jorge Jesus, Sporting coach
We played a great match against the European champions, in Madrid. It took their substitutions for Real to trouble us – my team stopped being so rigorous. We lacked a bit of experience perhaps, because we shouldn't have allowed them the free-kick from which they scored the first goal. In matches like this the slightest of errors costs you.

Ronaldo praise for Sporting after pushing Madrid all the way
Ronaldo praise for Sporting after pushing Madrid all the way