Morata hits injury-time winner to earn Real comeback win

Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:57pm EDT
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By Richard Martin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Late strikes from Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata gave Real Madrid a last-gasp 2-1 win over Sporting Lisbon as the European champions came from behind to win the first game of their Champions League defense.

Ronaldo denied his Portuguese boyhood club a famous win by scoring an equalizer from a free-kick in the 89th minute just when it seemed Madrid could, sensationally, lose their opening game in Group F.

Morata then headed home deep in injury time to complete the fightback.

"We didn't start the game well but Real Madrid are famous for comebacks like these and we leave here very happy," said Morata.

"We always believed in ourselves and we proved that you can always win a game until the referee blows the final whistle. Soccer is not always fair but it was fundamental to win and that's what we've done."

Brazilian Bruno Cesar had earlier given the visitors a surprise yet deserved lead in the 47th minute as he pounced on indecision in the Real back line.

Real took their time to respond to going behind with Ronaldo missing a gilt-edged chance to level when he struck the near post from a couple of yards out.

Real had gone into the game on top of La Liga after a convincing 5-2 win over Osasuna but met a well-drilled Sporting side who flooded the midfield with bodies and frequently won possession back, launching quick and dangerous breaks.   Continued...

Football Soccer - Real Madrid v Sporting Portugal - UEFA Champions League group stage - Santiago Bernabeu stadium, Madrid, Spain - 14/09/16 Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts at the end of the match.  REUTERS/Susana Vera -