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Ronaldo fires holders Real Madrid to easy victory

first_imgBy Richard Martin(REUTERS) – An imperious Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice on his first competitive start of the season as Real Madrid beat APOEL Nicosia 3-0 yesterday to get their quest for a third successive Champions League crown off on the right note.Ronaldo has been banned from domestic football since August for pushing a referee and only needed 12 minutes to get back amongst the goals in the competition where he is the all-time top scorer, meeting Gareth Bale’s low cross to arrow home.The Portuguese struck the underside of the crossbar early in the second half then moments later hit his 109th Champions League goal by powering home from the spot after APOEL’s Spanish defender Roberto Lago was harshly penalised for handball.Captain Sergio Ramos rubber-stamped what was a routine victory for Madrid over the Cypriot champions with a scrappy overhead kick in the 61st minute.Ronaldo was denied another penalty and a potential hat-trick when he was tripped in the area but his appeals went unnoticed, while late in the game he had a goal chalked off for a clear offside.Ronaldo also strayed offside in injury time as he sent the ball across to Borja Mayoral, whose tap in was also ruled out.Real had struggled for goals in their last two Liga encounters, surprise home draws with Valencia and Levante, and Ronaldo’s return came at a perfect time for Zinedine Zidane’s side, who were missing Karim Benzema and in-form forward Marco Asensio through injury.The Portuguese still has one game left to serve of his five-game domestic ban and will miss Sunday’s trip to Real Sociedad.Madrid’s opening goal came through a well worked break started by the sparkling Isco, who danced his way past his opponents to work the ball to Bale, who in turn found Ronaldo.Bale has been much maligned in Spain recently for his timid performances this season but was involved in all of Real’s goals, flicking the ball into the air and off the shoulder of Lago, who was in disbelief when the penalty was awarded.Ronaldo showed his time away from the pitch due to suspension has done little to change his usual hunger for goals and as soon he had blasted into the bottom corner from the spot he ran to pick the ball out of the net to start the game again in pursuit of a hat-trick, although a third goal proved elusive.“Cristiano scores so many goals and we really noticed his presence tonight, and I hope he keeps up this run,” Ramos told reporters.“His quality is unquestionable and Madrid are going to benefit from his return.”last_img read more

Syracuse basketball’s 2015 commits to stay despite NCAA sanctions, recruiting expert Alex Kline believes

first_imgSyracuse will be three scholarships short of a full Division I basketball team for four years, starting with the 2016-17 season, pending a potential appeal. The penalty is a sanction of the NCAA’s investigation which found that “Syracuse University did not control and monitor its athletics programs, and its head men’s basketball coach failed to monitor his program.”But Recruit Scoop founder and recruiting analyst Alex Kline said he thought the four players who have committed to SU for next season won’t back out of their commitments. Moustapha Diagne, Franklin Howard, Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon comprise the SU basketball Class of 2015. Richardson is a five-star recruit according to Scout.com, while the other three are four-star.Division I basketball teams can have 13 players on scholarship in a given season. If every player on the current roster stays on the team, with Rakeem Christmas leaving, the Orange will have 13 scholarships accounted for. Starting with the 2016-17 season, SU will play with 10.It’s been NCAA policy to not take scholarships away from current players or commits.Kline said recruiting package deals will be more difficult with fewer scholarships to offer, but the sanctions won’t affect Syracuse in terms of getting big-name recruits.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“They’re not going to have as many options and obviously — I really don’t know what their plan is going forward,” Kline said. “It’s a little tougher now, sure, but I don’t think it’s going to affect them when it comes to getting big names. I think, obviously less players can come there now so less possibility of package deals and whatnot, but other than that, that’s up to them on their plan.”Kline is a junior broadcast and digital journalism major at SU. Comments Published on March 6, 2015 at 1:34 pm Contact Jacob: [email protected] | @Jacob_Klinger_ Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more