MADRID, Oct 15 — Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona striker Luis Suarez took centre stage yesterday in bailing their teams out with late strikes to silence their critics following slow starts to the season.
Ronaldo shrugged off a glaring miss by snatching a 2-1 win for Real at Getafe with a deadly first-time strike in the 85th minute to claim his first league goal of the season.
The Portuguese missed Real’s first four league games due to a suspension for pushing a referee and although he scored four times in the Champions League and once in the Spanish Super Cup, his barren spell looked set to continue against Getafe after he spurned an open goal.
Ronaldo, however, had the last word when he buried substitute Isco’s chipped past beyond Getafe goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, who had turned away a potent shot from the 32-year-old in the first half.
“It was important for him to get his first goal,” coach Zinedine Zidane told reporters.
“We will see how it goes now but I am very happy with his goal, and also Isco’s assist.”
Suarez, meanwhile, headed in Barcelona’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid and celebrated wildly, taunting the fans behind the goal before rushing to the adjacent stand and cupping his ears.
The Uruguayan has faced criticism for his lumbering performances this season, in which he had only scored two goals in eight previous appearances in all competitions.
Suarez rushed back from a knee injury in order to help Uruguay’s bid to qualify for the World Cup and his form appeared to suffer.
In the previous game against Las Palmas he ripped his shirt off and walked off the pitch before full time in frustration after missing a clear chance to add to the 3-0 scoreline.
He had boosted his confidence by scoring twice for his country against Bolivia to seal their place in next year’s World Cup in Russia and struck again by appearing at the far post to nod in Sergi Roberto’s arching cross.
“Suarez played very well in addition to his goal but strikers live for scoring and his confidence will change rapidly because of it,” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said
“When he doesn’t score it’s as if he’s in the shadows but he scored today and had another clear chance. He negotiated the madness in the penalty area well and I hope this is the start of a good run for him.” — Reuters