Zidane: Real Madrid will not switch off ahead of City test

Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos celebrate with the trophy after Thursday’s match. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 18 July 2020

Zidane: Real Madrid will not switch off ahead of City test

  • Real Madrid sit seven points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga after securing only their third league title in 12 years

MADRID: Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday that his players will not be given any holiday after La Liga ends this weekend as Real Madrid turn their attention to their crunch Champions League tie with Manchester City.

Madrid have won La Liga with a game to spare and could rest players for Sunday’s final game away to relegation battlers Leganes. 

But Zidane insists there will be no letup from Monday as Madrid attempt to overturn a 2-1 home defeat to City in the second leg of the last 16 encounter.

“They are not going to have two weeks off,” said Zidane in a press conference on Saturday.

“We have a game tomorrow and then we are not on vacation. Let’s get some rest, but then our minds will be on City.

“The season is not over. We’re going to have a few days off but everyone will be focused on what is a crucial match.”

Madrid sit seven points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga after securing only their third league title in 12 years.

Their success comes after a 10-match winning run since the restart, with the team finding their best form after the three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The title should never be underestimated, especially this one. It has been difficult and we have fought to the end,” Zidane said.

Madrid’s lineup and focus could be crucial to La Liga’s survival race given Leganes are fighting Celta Vigo to avoid the drop. Leganes are a point behind Celta, who play away at bottom club Espanyol.

“We can’t play it differently,” said Zidane.

“One match is left, we must respect that. It is the last game and we have to respect everyone else. We will play it to try to do well.”


Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

Updated 26 October 2020

Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

ARLINGTON, United States: Brett Phillips’s single scored two runs and the Tampa Bay Rays walked off with a stunning 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday that knotted the World Series at two games apiece.
The Rays became the first team in post-season history to homer in four straight innings, but they trailed 7-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
With two out and two on, Phillips — who entered the game in the eighth as a pinch runner — was down to his last strike in the ninth when he singled to right center field off Dodgers closing pitcher Kenley Jansen and Kevin Kiermaier scored from second base.
Randy Arozarena racing from first, rounded third after the ball bounced off the glove of Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor.
Arozarena tripped between third and home and looked done for, but Dodgers catcher Will Smith bobbled the throw to the plate and Arozarena was able to scramble forward and throw himself headfirst across the plate in time.
“Golly, what a special moment,” said Phillips, who last got a hit in the Rays’ 58th game of the regular season on September 25.
“I am having a hard time putting my emotions into words,” Phillips said. “Baseball is fun.”
Kiermaier called the ending — which sent the Rays into a frenzy of celebration on Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, “truly incredible.”
Arozarena notched a record-breaking ninth home run of the post-season. Kiermaier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe also homered for the Rays, who are seeking the first World Series title in franchise history.
The Dodgers, back in the World Series for a third time in four years after disappointments in 2017 and 2018, are seeking their seventh title — but a first since 1988.
“This is certainly a tough one,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They were the best team all year in the American League.
“They are not going to give anything away. We’ve got to regroup and get ready for tomorrow.”
The spectacular ending, capped a tense back-and-forth battle with a World Series record eight straight half-innings with a run scored.
Justin Turner and Corey Seager homered for the Dodgers. Seager’s was his eighth of the playoffs, temporarily tying the single post-season record until Arozarena notched his ninth in the fourth frame.
For the second game in a row Turner got things rolling with a solo homer in the first inning.
Seager added a solo shot in the top of the third that put the Dodgers up 2-0, but Arozarena pulled back a run in the bottom of the fourth with a lead-off blast to right centerfield off a 95 mph fastball from Julio Urias.
Los Angeles stretched the lead to 3-1 in the fifth when Seager singled off Rays relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks and reached second on a wild pitch. With two outs in the inning Max Muncy reached first on a sharp line drive to right field that scored Seager.
The Rays responded with a home run from Renfroe to cut the margin to one run in the bottom of the fifth.
The Dodgers pushed the lead back to two in the top of the sixth when Enrique Hernandez fired a double down the left field line that scored two.
But Lowe — the two-homer hero of the Rays’ game-two victory — put the Rays in front for the first time with a three-run blast off Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez in the bottom of the sixth.
In the seventh, Dodgers pinch-hitter Joc Pederson came up with the bases loaded and two out and delivered a two-run single that put Los Angeles back in front.
All seven Dodgers runs came with two outs — continuing a trend for them this series.
The Rays however, wouldn’t be denied, Kiermaier’s homer off Baez knotting the score at 6-6.
“We have no quit,” Kiermaier said. “We have been doing that all year. We’ve been the comeback kids. To do it on the big stage makes it that much sweeter.”