Late Ronaldo Deflection Rescues Real Madrid in Draw vs. Athletic Bilbao

The was a sense of inevitability when Kepa beat Lucas' 87th-minute strike clear but Madrid kept the ball alive and Ronaldo diverted Luka Modric's speculative drive into the bottom corner to spare his team-mates from a sixth loss of their frustrating LaLiga campaign.

"But we are arriving [for the semi-final] well physically and mentally, even if today's result was not so good".

Williams hailed the advice of veteran team-mate Aritz Aduriz after cutely dinking home his third goal in Athletic's past six matches in all competitions.

Real were set for defeat until Ronaldo, who also hit the bar with a header early on, struck with his 24th league goal of the season to snatch the draw that leaves them third on 68 points after 33 games.

Real Madrid: Navas (5), Carvajal (6), Varane (6), Ramos (5), Marcelo (7), Kroos (6), Modric (7), Asensio (7), Vasquez (5), Benzema (6), Ronaldo (7).

"We've had periods this season where we've played a lot".


"There is no problem [with Bale]", Zidane said.

Ronaldo's bullet header rattled the bar from a Dani Carvajal cross but Athletic were slipping through Real's midfield easily and in the 14th minute they took the lead.

Real improved as the half wore on but the biggest cheer came from a passage of individual brilliance from Marco Asensio.

Bale and Isco came on with just over 20 minutes left, the latter receiving the warmer welcome, but it was not until the 87th minute that Real finally found an equaliser. Kepa said he believed staying at Bilbao was the right decision as the club is his home.

On the hour mark Real appealed for a penalty when Cristiano Ronaldo was bundled over by Martinez.

Inaki Williams put Athletic ahead with a chip shot from inside the area in the 14th, but Madrid pressured throughout the match at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium until finally breaking through with the neat close-range touch by Ronaldo, who extended his scoring streak to 12 consecutive matches to tie his best run with the Spanish club. "Maybe more was expected this year because they're a very good team that competes very well".

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