Victory returns Madrid's good play, but not morale

Associated Press Modified: September 19, 2012 at 8:47 am •  Published: September 19, 2012
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MADRID (AP) — While Real Madrid's Champions League victory over Manchester City may have helped repair early season disorder on the field, the 3-2 win does not look to have completely mended morale inside the squad.

Cristiano Ronaldo's 90th-minute winner capped a memorable comeback by the Spanish champions, who trailed 2-1 with five minutes to play.

Madrid coach Jose Mourinho had launched a number of attacks against his players following a 1-0 loss at Sevilla on Saturday, questioning their work ethic and priorities, and calling on his squad to prove their mettle against the English champions.

They certainly responded to restore confidence that a record 10th European Cup is attainable this season.

"It's the first time my players go home tired after a game. In football, you should go home feeling tired after every game," Mourinho said. "That's what Real Madrid stands for and it's not a cheap philosophy. You have to be ready to die on the field."

Madrid's woeful finishing nearly cost it as it wasted a number of scoring chances before City's 69th-minute opener. But the team knew how to respond as it twice rallied before Ronaldo dipped a shot under goalkeeper Joe Hart in the 90th minute.

Ronaldo, who returned to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for the first time since saying he felt "sad" at the club, celebrated his goal this time around. But he did not suggest his mood had turned.

"How I am, that doesn't matter," the Portugal forward said. "I celebrate everything that needs celebrating. What happened in the past doesn't matter, the past is the past."