Madrid — Zinedine Zidane has matched another feat by Carlo
Ancelotti at Real Madrid.
With two first-half goals by Cristiano Ronaldo, Zidane's
Madrid defeated Sporting Gijon 2-1 in the Spanish league on Saturday to equal
the 31-game unbeaten run by Ancelotti's team in the 2013-14 season.
Zidane already matched the former Madrid manager by winning
the Champions League last season, a title Ancelotti won with the Spanish
powerhouse in 2014, when Zidane was an assistant coach.
"This is positive, but it's not my individual
achievement," Zidane said. "It's an achievement by the whole team.
You have to congratulate the players on these numbers."
Saturday's win in pouring rain at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
— thanks in part to a late penalty kick missed by Sporting — also gave Madrid a
six-point lead over Sevilla, which jumped to second place by defeating Valencia
2-1. Third-place Barcelona plays on Sunday at fifth-place Real Sociedad to try
to get back within four points of Madrid before their clasico next week at Camp
Madrid, which has won six in a row in the league, hasn't been
defeated since April at Wolfsburg in the quarterfinals of last season's
Champions League. It has won 23 games since then.
Madrid's all-time unbeaten run of 34 games was under coach
Leo Beenhakker in the 1988-89 season. Barcelona holds the unbeaten record in
Spain of 39 consecutive games last season, a streak that ended with a defeat to
Madrid was heavily favored against Sporting, which had lost
seven of its previous nine league games.
The hosts got off to a good start as Ronaldo — who had a hat
trick against Atletico Madrid in last weekend's derby — scored from the penalty
spot in the fifth minute and from a header in the 18th.
Also read: Ronaldo 2 goals shy of 100 in European competitions
Sporting pulled one closer through Carlos Carmona in the
35th and had chances to equalize in the second half. The best one came with
Duje Cop's shot from the penalty spot but the ball sailed high and wide.
"We can be happy with the three points but we can't be
happy with the performance of our team," Zidane said. "We let the
game become difficult for us."
Sporting, which hasn't won since the third round, is 18th in
the 20-team standings.
It was Madrid's first game since losing Gareth Bale because
of a right ankle injury that is expected to sideline him for at least two
months. Zidane used Lucas Vazquez in the attack beside Ronaldo and Karim
SEVILLA 2, VALENCIA 1
Defender Nicolas Pareja scored in the 75th minute to give
host Sevilla its second consecutive victory and keep Valencia winless for a
fifth straight game.
Valencia had a great chance in the fourth minute of stoppage
time but Jose Gaya's close-range shot was brilliantly saved by Sevilla
goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
The result kept former Italy coach Cesare Prandelli with
only one victory in six games since taking the helm of the traditional Spanish
club in October. Following a 2-1 win in Prandelli's debut against Sporting
Gijon, Valencia has lost three times and drawn twice.
Valencia is 16th in the standings, two points above the
MALAGA 4, DEPORTIVO LA CORUNA 3
Substitute midfielder Javi Ontiveros scored two minutes into
second-half injury time to give Malaga its fifth straight win at home and
extend Deportivo La Coruna's winless streak to six games.
Deportivo scored first just four minutes into the thrilling
match, but it needed two late goals to even the match after conceding three.
Its effort proved fruitless as Ontiveros netted the late winner.
Malaga's second goal was a superb right-footed free kick
shot by former Barcelona player Sandro Ramirez.
Malaga, coming off a 0-0 draw against Barcelona in the Camp
Nou, moved to ninth place, while Deportivo — yet to win an away game — remained
ESPANYOL 3, LEGANES 0
Forward Gerard Moreno scored in the first half and striker
Pablo Piatti netted twice in the second as Espanyol extended its unbeaten run
to seven matches.For
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