Salem Radio Network News Sunday, March 3, 2024

Sports

Soccer-Real Madrid’s Bellingham snatches late winner at home to Getafe

By Fernando Kallas

MADRID (Reuters) -Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham again proved the match-winner as he struck in added time to snatch a 2-1 victory over Getafe as the Spanish giants made their home debut in LaLiga this season at their refurbished Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

The England midfielder, who has quickly became a talisman and fan favourite, got his fifth goal in his first four games after joining Real for 103 million euros ($110.96 million) plus 30 million in add-ons from Borussia Dortmund.

Real are top on a maximum 12 points from four games, five ahead of Atletico Madrid, Girona and Barcelona, who have yet to play this weekend, and Cadiz who beat Villarreal 3-1 on Friday.

Borja Mayoral had opened the scoring for Getafe in the 11th minute after a mistake by defender Fran Garcia.

“It was a difficult match and it was even more difficult because we conceded a goal early. This doesn’t change my thoughts about Fran Garcia, maybe he paid the price for the fascination with the stadium,” said Real coach Carlo Ancelotti.

“The second half was different, we had chances and in the end I think we deserved to win with a goal from Bellingham who is used to winning.”

Real may have got all three points in the end but Getafe goalkeeper David Soria preserved the visitors’ lead through to halftime with a string of stunning saves

First he launched himself outside the box to clear with his shoulder and then made a brilliant one-handed save from Luka Modric’s close-range header before a reflex stop with his left foot to keep out Joselu’s point-blank strike.

Real’s players complained about several refereeing decisions in the first half, including a potential penalty that was given as a foul on Bellingham but then not awarded after the referee went to the VAR booth and saw no infringement.

But Real attacked after the break and Joselu equalised from a loose ball inside the six-yard box in the 47th minute.

Real put Getafe under relentless pressure and hit the woodwork three times much to the disappointment of the near sold-out Santiago Bernabeu.

Nearing the final stages of a 900 million euro renovation project, the stadium looks impressive and had its new retractable roof closed on a rainy day in the Spanish capital.

Rodrygo missed several chances and Soria made another two great stops until LaLiga top scorer Bellingham was in the right place at the right time to score from a rebound off the keeper, who could not hold onto a Lucas Vazquez strike from distance.

“Winning always tastes good,” Joselu told Real Madrid TV. “The Bernabeu crowd has pushed us, our people are incredible. We earned three golden points to make it four wins out of four games.”

($1 = 0.9282 euros)

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Ken Ferris and Frances Kerry)

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