Real Madrid sets club record with 35 games without a loss
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Madrid set a new club record after a 35th consecutive match without a loss by beating Deportivo La Coruna 3-2 on another Sergio Ramos stoppage-time winner on Saturday.
Ramos, who scored an injury-time equalizer at Barcelona in the last round, headed in a corner kick after 90 minutes were up to maintain Madrid’s six-point lead over Barcelona atop the Spanish league.
“You fight until the very end, with faith, with enthusiasm, with commitment, and things go your way,” Ramos said.
Madrid appeared to have the milestone well in hand after Alvaro Morata gave the hosts the lead with a strike from distance, but former Madrid youth player Joselu Sanmartin went on for Deportivo and scored twice in a three-minute span to force Madrid into fight-back mode.
With Cristiano Ronaldo and several other first-choice players unavailable, Madrid needed little-used Mariano to level at 2-2 in the 84th before Ramos snatched the winner.
Under coach Zinedine Zidane, Madrid hasn’t lost since April 6 when it fell 2-0 at German side Wolfsburg in the Champions League knockout rounds. Madrid recovered from that setback to win its record 11th European Cup.
The previous unbeaten streak for the club founded in 1902 was 34 games in 1989, set by a side coached by Leo Beenhakker. Barcelona holds the unbeaten mark for all Spanish clubs of 39 games which Madrid ended last season.
Zidane said this winning spirit formed part of the club’s identity.
“It’s in the colors of this club, it’s something this club has always had,” Zidane said. “We know that we can do big things like we did tonight. Thirty-five games without a loss gives you strength. One day we will lose, but the good thing about this team is that it always believes.”
With Madrid set to travel to Japan to play the Club World Cup, Zidane opted to leave Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric off his squad. Gareth Bale was also missing while he recovers from a foot injury.
And if it weren’t for another dose of Ramos’ heroics, the decision to rest so many of his best players would have cost Zidane a setback at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Instead, Ramos added to his reputation as Madrid’s stoppage-time savior just a week after earning a valuable draw at Camp Nou.
Ramos is beloved by Madrid’s faithful for his injury-time goal in the 2014 Champions League final that forced added periods. Madrid eventually prevailed over Atletico Madrid. He repeated that same feat to help Madrid edge Sevilla in added time for the UEFA Super Cup at the start of this season.
OSASUNA 0, BARCELONA 3
Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona halted its skid of three consecutive draws in the league.
But first, Messi helped set up Luis Suarez for the 59th-minute opener, when he started a move that ended with Jordi Alba squaring the ball for Suarez to tap home.
In similar fashion, Alba set up Messi to side-foot in his first goal in the 73rd.
Messi got his second goal in stoppage time, when he took on three defenders, picked his spot and rifled home a left-footed strike.
Messi went to the top of the league scoring table with 11. Suarez pulled level with Madrid’s Ronaldo with 10.
“We knew that once we scored the first goal the match would open up for us, and thankfully the goal came soon enough,” Suarez said.
Promoted Osasuna remained bottom and winless at home since its return to the top tier.
REAL SOCIEDAD 3, VALENCIA 2
Real Sociedad climbed into fourth place after striker Willian Jose scored two early headers to take his tally to nine goals on the season.
Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves saved another penalty, albeit in a losing effort, when he blocked Carlos Vela’s spot kick. The Brazilian goalie has saved 20 of 43 penalties he has faced in league competition.
Cesare Prandelli’s Valencia remained winless in the last seven rounds and just above the relegation zone.
LAS PALMAS 1, LEGANES 1
Substitute Miguel Guerrero earned and converted a penalty to snatch promoted Leganes a point in the Canary Islands.