Thursday, May 25, 2017

Las Palmas v Real Madrid: Willian Jose determined to halt Ronaldo form

SoccerNews in La Liga 11 Mar 2016

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Las Palmas striker Willian Jose hopes to see Cristiano Ronaldo’s goalscoring form grind to a halt when Real Madrid visit Gran Canaria on Sunday.

The Portugal international responded to whistles from the Santiago Bernabeu crowd with a stunning four-goal haul in the 7-1 thrashing of Celta Vigo last week.

Ronaldo leads Luis Suarez by one goal in the race to finish top scorer in La Liga this season, with just 10 games left to play, and Willian Jose – who spent six months with Madrid in 2014 – is keen to see his former club return to the mainland in disappointment.

“It’s a special game for me, the experience I had at Real Madrid was very good. We’re in a good moment of form and we have to take advantage of that to keep getting points,” he said, with Las Palmas having won their last three league games without conceding.

“They’re coming to win the game and Ronaldo wants to continue scoring goals because he’s fighting to be top goalscorer. He’s a very difficult forward to defend against.”

Zinedine Zidane has conceded his side’s title ambitions are effectively over, with Madrid lying 12 points behind leaders Barcelona and four adrift of second-placed Atletico Madrid heading into the final 10 games.

Attentions have subsequently turned more towards winning an 11th Champions League title, with the 2014 winners having seen off the stubborn challenge of Roma to secure their place in this season’s quarter-finals.

Zidane concedes his squad may have difficulty in switching their focus back towards their domestic form, but he has urged his players to do their utmost to ensure they finish at least second in the table.

“We’re a professional group and we need to think about Sunday’s game,” he said. “It’s difficult because we’re in a bit of a tricky situation.

“The players know that, above all, we’ve got to try and finish second. Our attentions now turn to Las Palmas and then to Sevilla.

“Everyone dreams about success in the Champions League and we’re here to try and make it happen. For now, we’ve got to concentrate on Sunday’s game.”

Madrid, who won the reverse fixture in October 3-1, welcomed Karim Benzema back to training this week from a hamstring injury, though Sunday’s clash may be too early to rush the France international back into action.

Nauzet Aleman and Sergio Araujo have returned after being suspended by the club for a breach of disciplinary rules, but winger Tana is a doubt with a calf injury, as Las Palmas look for a result which could increase the four-point gap separating them from the relegation places.

 

Key Opta Stats: 

– Real Madrid have gone five league games without a defeat away from the Santiago Bernabeu (W2 D3), with an average of 1.8 goals per game. 
– Las Palmas have scored in all of their previous four games, which is their best scoring run this season (1.75 goals per game). 
– Zinedine Zidane lost his only game against Las Palmas in Gran Canaria (4-2), however he did score his first free-kick in La Liga in that game (October 2001).
– Cristiano Ronaldo is the second top goalscorer in La Liga (252 goals in 228 games), and has now overtaken Telmo Zarra in the all-time charts, reaching that figure with 62 games fewer than Lionel Messi (290). 
– Juan Carlos Valeron has played the most minutes in La Liga this season without conceding a single foul (265).

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