Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Real Madrid and Valencia tied without goals

Real Madrid only got a 0-0 draw at Valencia in the Spanish Primera Liga. Ronaldo spurned a golden opportunity to give his team the victory when he missed a last-minute penalty.

The Brazilian striker was dropped to the bench by Real coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro, and earned the spot-kick after he was fouled by Santiago Canizares but the Valencia goalkeeper atoned for his mistake when he saved Ronaldo's low shot on Saturday.

``Things aren't going well at the moment but I can only get out of this situation with enthusiasm and hard work,'' the forward said after the game.

Real Madird coach Lopez Caro made the surprise decision to leave Ronaldo on the bench after his failure to find the net as Real slipped out of the Champions League in the first knockout round on Wednesday following a 0-0 draw against Arsenal at Highbury.

He also left out forwards Antonio Cassano and Robinho, selecting instead to play Raul and Julio Baptista up front.

However, the changes failed to add more spark to the Real attack and scoring chances were scarce in the first half as the sides battled hard in midfield and got plenty of men behind the ball.

The first clear opportunity did not come until just before the break when Valencia striker David Villa had a goal-bound free kick tipped over the bar by Iker Casillas.

Ronaldo substituted Raul just after the hour, although it was his strike partner Baptista who almost opened the scoring a few minutes later.

The Brazilian looked certain to find the net when he got his head to a Zinedine Zidane cross but Canizares produced a great reflex save to scoop the ball off the line.

Cassano and Robinho added new life to the Real front line when they too were thrown into the mix in the final 15 minutes.

In the end of the match, Ronaldo was felled by Canizares as he burst towards goal but was then denied his 11th goal of the season when the Valencia custodian went the right way to save his spot kick.