Ronaldo and Benzema join Bale in missing Sporting clash

A last-minute goal from Isco saw LaLiga leaders Real Madrid snatch a dramatic 3-2 win at relegation battlers Sporting Gijon, where manager Zinedine Zidane made nine changes to his team. "That is how ambitious he is".

Real may also leave with regrets, as they could have taken a commanding lead into next week's second leg at the Bernabeu.

Arturo Vidal's thumping header steered manager Carlo Ancelotti's side into the lead before Ronaldo equalised early in the second half and added a late victor after Javi Martinez's 60th-minute sending off.

In the first half, he just about managed to get a fingertip to push Karim Benzema's looping header onto the crossbar, before then denying Wales forward Gareth Bale at point-blank range as well as producing superb stops to beat away goal-bound efforts from both France forward Benzema and then Ronaldo.

"We were the best team in the second half and it could have been two or three nil up", the goalie said. "I think if Neuer hadn't been on such a good night we would have scored more".

The first half of the match was a typical Ronaldo moments, full of shouting and pouting about things not going his way.

Bayern's Arturo Vidal opened the scoring and missed a penalty before Ronaldo volleyed the equaliser in the 47th minute and scored the victor 13 minutes from time when he was picked out by Marco Asenio and finished calmly.

Bayern, who had thrashed English club Arsenal 10-2 on aggregate to take their place in the last eight, went in front after 26 minutes through a bullet header from Arturo Vidal.

Real Madrid will have to continue its march toward its first Spanish league title in five years without the injured Gareth Bale.

Wednesday's brace extended Ronaldo's lead over Barcelona rival Lionel Messi in the race to reach a Champions League century.

I trained hard in order to be okay for this month and a half of competition. We are all happy because getting a result here is not easy. The last time Madrid failed to score was in April, in a 0-0 draw at Manchester City in the Champions League semifinals.

Zidane's men are away to Sporting on Saturday, a match which will be followed by two crucial games in the space of a week. Of course, once Lewandowski returns his side will get back into their usual form but until then, they need to learn how to win games without him because it seems like when it comes to big Champions League games, they simply can not function without the Polish striker.

"We don't have a big chance, but we still have a chance - we're still alive", said Ancelotti.

"It is not easy to play here, Bayern have great players and are a great team, but we still needed to play well in the second half".


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