Real Madrid unaffected by Barca blip, says Zidane

Zinedine Zidane
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Updated 21 June 2020

Real Madrid unaffected by Barca blip, says Zidane

MADRID: Zinedine Zidane insists nothing has changed in La Liga’s title race despite Barcelona handing Real Madrid the chance to go top of the table if they beat Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Barca’s goalless draw away at Sevilla on Friday means Madrid will move above them with a win at Anoeta this weekend due to a superior record head to head.

After his team’s slip-up, Gerard Pique admitted it would be “very difficult to win this league” and said Real Madrid might not drop any more points during the run-in.

“Nothing changes,” said Zidane on Saturday.

“People can say one thing or another but what interests me is the game tomorrow. I have my opinions but I am not going to say them because the same could happen or the complete opposite.

“Everyone can give their opinion but we are thinking of the next match. It’s what engages us and nothing else.”

Madrid have beaten Eibar and Valencia since the return from the three-month suspension and Karim Benzema has continued his excellent season by taking his tally to 21 goals in 38 games.

Benzema scored twice against Valencia, with the second goal a stunning control and volley into the top corner.

“I don’t think much has changed with Karim, maybe just his age and experience,” Zidane said.

“He has been here for many years now and to me he is the same player but he knows it’s always possible to improve and that’s what he is doing.

“He takes care of himself and has a lot of ambition. People are always interested in how much he is scoring and if he doesn’t score, everything is bad. But that’s not how I look at it.

“He gives us so many things and if he scores goals, all the better, but I am not interested in a number nine that only scores and otherwise doesn’t affect the game. Karim does both.”

Marco Asensio also enjoyed a special night against Valencia as he scored with his first touch after coming on to make his first appearance in a year. Asensio had been out with a anterior cruciate ligament injury.

“I am happy with what happened but he has to go step by step,” said Zidane.

“We have time, we don’t now think that’s it, he must play every game, no, we have to stay calm. After a serious injury you have to go slowly and that is what we and him are doing.”


Coman strikes again as Bayern open title defense by routing Atletico

Updated 19 min 48 sec ago

Coman strikes again as Bayern open title defense by routing Atletico

  • The defeat was the joint heaviest Atletico has suffered under Diego Simeone

MUNICH, Germany: Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman picked up where he left off last season with two goals in a 4-0 home rout of Atletico Madrid on Wednesday as the holders got the defense of their Champions League campaign off to a winning start.
Coman, whose header settled last season’s Champions League final against Paris Saint-Germain just 59 days ago in Lisbon, scored Bayern’s opening goal, created their second and claimed their fourth behind closed doors at the Allianz Arena.
“We played very well, I am very happy with my two goals,” Coman told Sky Sports.
“The winning goal in last season’s final is a good motivator, but it’s in the past now and we have fresh goals this season.”
Coman saved his best for last with a superb effort, turning the Atletico defense inside out before firing home on 72 minutes.
Goals by midfielders Leon Goretzka and Corentin Tolisso, who produced an unstoppable long-range strike from outside the box, added to Atletico’s misery in Munich.
The defeat was the joint heaviest Atletico has suffered under Diego Simeone, rivalling the 4-0 drubbing dished out at Dortmund almost exactly two years ago.
“I am very pleased with the win, especially in defense, and we were rewarded for our hard work,” said head coach Hansi Flick after Bayern’s 12th straight win in Europe dating back to their 2018/19 last 16 defeat to Liverpool.
There were nervous moments in the build-up before UEFA confirmed the game could go ahead after Bayern winger Serge Gnabry tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.
The rest of the Munich squad tested negative in Wednesday morning’s round of testing, but Goretzka later admitted Gnabry’s positive test was a “shock.”
Both sides had clear early chances as Luis Suarez just failed to connect with a low cross from Atletico left back Renan Lodi, while at the other end Bayern center-back Niklas Suele hit the post.
Suarez again fired wide just before Bayern took the lead.
Joshua Kimmich, who celebrated the birth of his second child the night before, won the ball, then turned and put a superb pass into the box which found Coman who fired past Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak on 29 minutes.
Coman then turned provider when the France winger darted into the area, spotted Goretzka free and the central midfielder beat Oblak to make it 2-0 at the break.
Atletico appeared to have pulled a goal back early in the second half when Joao Felix tapped home, but the VAR spotted Suarez offside in the build up.
Tolisso grabbed Bayern’s third just after the hour mark when he blasted home a thunderous strike after Kimmich’s effort had been charged down.
Coman capped a fine individual display when he twisted and turned his way past marker Felipe before deftly firing home on 77 minutes.
The 24-year-old was almost immediately substituted after helping establish a four-goal cushion with back-to-back away group games at Moscow and Salzburg in the coming weeks.