AFP

Real Madrid slip up with Ronaldo off the pitch as Las Palmas score late equaliser

Real Madrid slip up with Ronaldo off the pitch as Las Palmas score late equaliser
By Graham Ruthven via Reuters

24/09/2016 at 22:00

La Liga, Estadio de Gran Canaria - Las Palmas 2 (Tana 38', Araujo 85') Real Madrid 2 (Asensio 33', Benzema 67')

Real Madrid were held in La Liga for the second time in a week as they conceded a late equaliser to draw 2-2 with Las Palmas.

Zinedine Zidane’s side twice held the lead in Gran Canaria, through Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema, but they were pegged back on both occasions, with Sergio Araujo salvaging a point for the hosts with just five minutes of regular time remaining.

Benzema and Bale celebrate against Las Palmas, but prematurely

Benzema and Bale celebrate against Las Palmas, but prematurelyAFP

This result came on the back of Wednesday evening’s draw against Villarreal, meaning Real Madrid have dropped four points over their last two Liga fixtures. Zidane’s rotation of his squad will consequently surely come under scrutiny.

As will his decision to withdraw Cristiano Ronaldo with 15 minutes still to play. The Portuguese winger looked short of match sharpness, but was unhappy with Zidane’s decision to bench him. Ultimately it proved to be the wrong call as Real Madrid succumbed to an equaliser, making them rue their missed opportunities earlier in the match.

TALKING POINT

Has Casemiro become Real Madrid’s most important player? The Brazilian was missing for Real Madrid having picked up an injury in the midweek draw against Villarreal and they missed him. Without Casemiro there was no link between the defence and midfield, allowing Las Palmas much freedom around the edge of the opposition penalty area. So after much criticism has Casemiro become Real Madrid’s most important player from a tactical point of view?

MAN OF THE MATCH

Tana (Las Palmas): He scored Las Palmas’ first equaliser of the night, but Tana was more than just a goalscorer for the Gran Canarian side. Along with Jonathan Vieira, everything Las Palmas did well came through Tana, with the home team able to make the most of the freedom they were afforded in the centre of the pitch. He was the standout on a pitch that included some of the best, most expensive players in the game.

PLAYER RATINGS

Las Palmas - Varas 8, Macedo 6, Garcia 5, Aythemi 6, Castellano 5, Gomez 7, Mesa 6, Tana 8, Vieira 7, Momo 6, Livaja 6. Subs - El Zhar 5, Araujo 7, Lemos 6.

Real Madrid - Casilla 7, Carvajal 7, Ramos 5, Varane 5, Nacho 7, Modric 7, Kroos 5, Asensio 7, Bale 5, Ronaldo 6, Morata 6. Subs - Isco 5, Lucas 5, Benzema 7.

KEY MOMENTS

10’ KROOS SHOULD HAVE PASSED! The first real chance of the match is pinged off on goal by the German, but he probably should have fed it out right to Ronaldo instead.

11’ MORATA HEADER SAVED! Real Madrid win a freekick at the byline, with Modric finding the striker with his delivery. But Varas is alert and pushes Morata's header over the crossbar.

15’ RONALDO GOES TO GROUND! Real Madrid want a freekick for a handball by a Las Palmas defender, then Ronaldo hits the deck in the box, but Michel won the ball cleanly.

17’ RONALDO GETS HIS FEET IN A MUDDLE! That was a good opportunity for the Portuguese, but he got the ball stuck under his feet from a Morata pull back. The chance disappeared.

19’ MORATA SHOT ON GOAL! The Real Madrid striker gets his effort away on target but Varas makes the relatively simple save. Morata was trying to bend it into the corner of the net.

20’ FIRST CHANCE FOR BALE! For the first time in the match the Welsh winger gets the chance to drive at the Las Palmas shot, but his effort is blocked once he gets into the box.

25’ GOALMOUTH SCRAMBLE! Carvajal bursts into the box, squares for Ronaldo who is bundled off the ball, Morata's shot is blocked and Carvajal commits a foul on Garcia. Good chance, that.

30’ VIEIRA GETS THE SHOT AWAY! The Las Palmas midfielder drives forward to the edge of the Real Madrid penalty area, but his low shot is saved on the stretch by Casilla.

32’ WAS THAT A PENALTY? Morata goes down inside the penalty area under the late challenge of Aythemi, but the referee waves away the claims. There was something in that.

33’ GOAL! Las Palmas 0-1 Real Madrid: Real Madrid have the opener! Nacho was up from the back, saw his low shot saved by Varas but Asensio arrives on the scene to head home the rebound.

39’ GOAL! Las Palmas 1-1 Real Madrid: The equaliser didn't take long in coming! Las Palmas have drawn level. Varane's clearing header from a cross was a poor one, with the ball landing at the feet of Tana. He calmly slotted home.

49’ BALE AND RONALDO COMBINE! The latter comes flying down the left wing and squares the ball for his Welsh teammate. He strikes his shot well but Varas makes the save and Morata is offside.

65’ BENZEMA HAS A CHANCE IMMEDIATELY! The ball fell to the French striker from a corner kick, but it caught him cold and it simply bounced off him at the back post. Rusty.

68’ GOAL! Las Palmas 1-2 Real Madrid: Real Madrid have the lead again! Ronaldo's initial shot is saved by Varas but Benzema is on hand to follow up and convert the rebound. 1-2.

85’ GOAL! Las Palmas 2-2 Real Madrid: That wasn't in the script! A cushion header falls to Araujo who somehow manages to squeeze the ball past Casilla, who saved his first shot but still couldn't keep it out!

93’ HUGE CHANCE FOR BENZEMA! That should have been a winner for Real Madrid. The ball was played to the back post but Benzema somehow managed to put his volley over.

KEY STATS

With his equalising goal Tana scored three goals with just four shots attempted in La Liga this season.

With three, no player has scored more goals for Real Madrid this season than Marco Asensio (level with Sergio Ramos in all competitions).

Cristiano Ronaldo has failed to score at only three Liga stadiums: El Arcangel, Anoeta and Gran Canaria.

MATCH IN A TWEET

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