Sometimes the best defense is a ton of offense.
In a match with plenty of excitement and a barrel full of heroes, Cristiano Ronaldo provided the final goal eight minutes before full-time to erase a home lead and give Real Madrid a share of the spoils.
Having missed a header he buries 99% of the time, the Ballon d’Or winner atoned by collecting a ball Gareth Bale couldn’t control and rifling past Thibaut Courtois for the leveler.
The end-to-end match featured 26 total shots, a number of which were sights to behold.
Karim Benzema put Real Madrid ahead after just three minutes, but Koke drew back level midway through the first half before a ridiculous strike by Gabi Fernandez from about 40 yards out gave the hosts the lead just before halftime.
It is a disappointing slip for Atletico Madrid, who would have gone above Barcelona and level with Real Madrid on points for the La Liga lead had they held onto the lead. They do jump Barcelona, but just by the one point with the Catalans still to play this weekend.
End-to-end the entire time, it was almost too exciting of a match for some, as Atletico Madrid coach German Burgos was sent off in the second half for nearly eating the referee (or trying to, at least).
There were plenty of spectacular saves on both ends as well, with Courtois and Diego Lopez adding their name to the list of fireworks.
Atletico manager Diego Simeone received some criticism following the match, as he seemed to wait too long to use any substitutes as his lone change came in the 83rd minute after Ronaldo’s goal. His counterpart Carlo Ancelotti made all three of his substitutions before the 73rd minute to give his side the fresher legs.
Middlesbrough has impressed at times during its return to the Premier League this season, and now the club looks to bolster its backline as the transfer window closes.
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The club announced the loan signing of Arsenal defender Calum Chambers on Tuesday, providing the Boro with a promising young player to contribute in the back.
Chambers, 21, has made 58 appearances in the PL with both the Gunners and Southampton, while also earning three caps for England.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka revaled his excitement over the signing, while also stating that the player addresses a big need on the backline.
“I’m really pleased,” said Karanka. “It’s a position where we’ve been working towards bringing the right player in. We haven’t been in a hurry because Calum was the player we were waiting for, and he’s going to help us a lot.”
The Gunners have been heavily criticized for not spending enough during the transfer season, however, Arsene Wenger has gotten the man he wanted to help out defensively.
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Arsenal announced the signing of Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi on Tuesday, after the German centerback had been previously been linked to the club for some time as their top transfer target.
Mustafi will likely figure immediately into the Arsenal defense, which has also added Rob Holding this summer. The 24-year-old made over 64 appearances for Valencia while in La Liga after beginning his academy career in England with Everton.
Hope Solo hasn’t had the best couple of weeks since the U.S. Women’s National Team bailed out of the 2016 Olympics.
On Tuesday, the U.S. keeper announced her decision to take a step back from her club team as well after receiving a six-month ban from U.S. Soccer.
The veteran American shot stopper took to Twitter to make her decision known, leaving her status unknown with the Seattle Reign in the future. Solo remains under contract until the end of the current campaign, however, it is not known as to how her decision to sit out will affect her financially.
Solo wil be eligible to return to the USWNT in February, but it will be up to head coach Jill Ellis to reintroduce the 35-year-old into the fold.
U.S. Men’s National Team and LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes will miss the rest of the MLS regular season with a broken bone in his right foot.
It was initially believed on Monday that the U.S. attacker could be out until the end of 2016 after suffering the injury in Saturday’s 0-0 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Zardes was taken down by Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston during the latter stages of the match, with the Costa Rican apparently catching the inside of the 24-year-old’s foot, ultimately causing the injury.
Because of his extended absence, Zardes was ruled out of consideration for the USMNT squad ahead of their upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches vs. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.