Tue, Nov 07, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Real Madrid pummel Las Palmas to calm crisis talk

AFP, MADRID

UD Las Palmas goalkeeper Raul Lizoain, left, blocks a shot by Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, second right, in their La Liga match at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Real Madrid on Sunday quietened crisis talk after back-to-back defeats as Marco Asensio added to his collection of wonder strikes in a 3-0 victory over UD Las Palmas at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

The victory cut third-placed Real Madrid’s deficit to Barcelona at the top of La Liga back to eight points.

However, it was another off night for Madrid’s strikers as Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema were held scoreless as Casemiro, Isco and 21-year-old Asensio provided the killer touch.

“They are the first ones that aren’t happy,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane said of Ronaldo’s and Benzema’s goal droughts. “The important thing is the work that they do and the chances we create. Today, Isco, Asensio and Casemiro scored, and soon Cristiano and Karim will. We need to remain calm.”

Benzema has been fiercely criticized for his role as Real lost to promoted Girona the previous weekend and at Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday last week, and the level of discontent with the Frenchman was in evidence as he was jeered by the home faithful inside the first five minutes when he failed to slot past Raul Lizoain after being played clean through by Ronaldo.

Both Ronaldo and Benzema have only one La Liga goal each to their name so far this season and it was the World Player of the Year who had Real’s next three efforts as he blasted into the side-netting, curled a shot just wide and then placed a header from close range too close to Lizoain.

“We know that Cristiano is happier when he scores,” Zidane said. “We are all convinced that [at the end of the season] he is the one that will make the difference.”

Elsewhere, Villarreal’s unbeaten league run since Javier Calleja took charge in September continued as Nicola Sansone came off the bench to grab both goals in a 2-0 win over Malaga to move el Submarino Amarillo up to fifth.

Real Sociedad were also comfortable 3-1 winners over Sociedad Deportiva Eibar.

However, their Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao’s slump shows no signs of abating as they conceded three times in the opening 26 minutes to lose 3-1 at RC Celta de Vigo, with Iago Aspas netting twice for the hosts.

Athletic have now won just once in their past eight La Liga games with Jose Angel Ziganda struggling to follow in the footsteps of Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde.

Girona moved into the top half of the table by backing up their upset of Real Madrid by edging Levante UD 2-1 in the lunchtime kickoff.

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