Real roars back

MADRID – Cristiano Ronaldo scored two penalties as stumbling Liga champions Real Madrid hit back from their miserable start to 2018 with a rousing 4-1 win at Valencia yesterday to move within two points of recapturing third place in La Liga.

Ronaldo sent goalkeeper Neto the wrong way to slot in his 100th penalty for club and country in the 16th minute after the Portuguese was felled in the box following a lightning quick breakaway from a Valencia corner.

He made no mistake again from the spot in the 38th after Karim Benzema had been pushed over in the area by defender Martin Montoya, stretching Madrid’s lead and moving on to eight goals in the league this season, including four penalties.

Meanwhile, Harry Kane has scored far better goals among the 30 he has netted this season — but none of them had the critical feel of the tap-in at little Newport County yesterday that may yet transform Tottenham Hotspur’s season.

For not only did Kane’s 82nd-minute gimme spare Spurs from potential FA Cup humiliation in their fourth-round tie at the League Two club, the resulting 1-1 draw also salvaged their best chance of winning silverware in a crucial campaign.

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