Casemiro saves Real Madrid blushes to down Las Palmas

Real Madrid got out of jail with a hugely fortunate victory in Gran Canaria Sunday night thanks to Casemiro’s winner a minute from time.

Andy West
by Andy West
14th March 2016

article:14th March 2016

Casemiro (R) celebrates scoring their second goal with Sergio Ramos.
Casemiro (R) celebrates scoring their second goal with Sergio Ramos.

Sergio Ramos, who was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card, gave the visitors the lead before Willian Jose appeared to have earned a memorable draw for the hosts with a late leveller.

And although Casemiro then nodded home the winner it does little to disguise a desperately poor performance from Zinedine Zidane’s men, who were outplayed and had keeper Keylor Navas to thank for several saves.

The hosts squandered a huge early chance to take the lead after a rare error from Luka Modric gifted possession to Willian Jose on the edge of the area, but the home team striker hesitated before shooting and allowed Navas to close the angle and make a good save.

Las Palmas had another near miss as winger Momo fired over from a narrow angle, while Madrid’s first opportunity fell to Cristiano Ronaldo after a pass from Isco, but his tame shot was easily saved by Javi Varas.

An even clearer opening came Ronaldo’s way when he was released clean through by a brilliant pass from Modric, but the Portuguese star sent his effort too close to the goalkeeper and Varas saved.

The deadlock was broken from the resulting corner, however, as Isco’s left-wing delivery to the near post was met by Ramos, whose bullet header into the top far corner gave Varas no chance whatsoever.

Madrid’s attacking threat was sporadic, with the brightest spark coming from Lucas Vazquez who twice did well before the break to create openings for Ronaldo and Isco with both deflected wide.

Las Palmas became even more dominant after the break, and Pepe was perhaps fortunate to escape with only a yellow card after deliberately hauling back Willian Jose.

Navas was forced to save an attempted clearance from Alvaro Arbeloa – making his first league start of the season – from the resulting free-kick, and then did well to deny Nili after great approach play down the left by Momo.

Real were offering very little going forward, with two off-target efforts from Gareth Bale their only threat, and needed a block from Casemiro to keep out Momo’s free-kick after Navas was wrongly penalised for picking up a back-pass.

Las Palmas finally got the much-threatened equaliser when an awful pass from Mateo Kovacic conceded possession and Willian Jose took full advantage with a classy dink over the advancing Navas.

But with a minute remaining, the hosts left Casemiro completely unmarked at a corner and the midfielder sent a downward header into the corner for an undeserved three points.



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