Real Madrid win 1-0 to ease pressure on Zidane

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Toni Kroos scored the only goal as Real Madrid beat Galatasaray
Toni Kroos scored the only goal as Real Madrid beat Galatasaray

Real Madrid collected their first Champions League victory of the season at Galatasaray to ease the pressure on manager Zinedine Zidane.

The La Liga side suffered a shock league defeat against Mallorca at the weekend and had failed to win their opening two group games, with reports in Spain suggesting Frenchman Zidane could be sacked if they lost in Istanbul.

But Toni Kroos’ deflected first-half strike following Eden Hazard’s cutback was enough to seal the three points.

Big money summer signing Hazard should have made it a more comfortable scoreline for the 13-time European champions but somehow struck the crossbar from six yards out with an open goal.

Turkish champions Galatasaray provided plenty of goalscoring threat but could not find the leveller with on-loan Brighton striker Florian Andone thwarted twice by sharp Thibaut Courtois saves and Steven Nzonzi heading over from close range late on.

Real’s win moves them up to second in Group A, five points behind leaders Paris St-Germain who eased past Club Bruges.

Real’s summer signings failing to fire

Eden Hazard
Hazard missed a sitter after going round goalkeeper Fernando Muslera

Real were bottom of the group after suffering a heavy 3-0 loss at PSG and being held to a home draw by Club Bruges and there was talk that another defeat could signal the end of Zidane’s second spell in charge at the Bernabeu.

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The Spanish side are second in the league, one point behind Barcelona, but the major signings have yet to get going, putting Zidane’s job under scrutiny.

Having spent almost £300m on a major squad rebuild, Brazil teenager Rodrygo – a £40m acquisition from Santos – was handed his competition debut and £150m forward Hazard was the only other player brought in during the summer to make the starting line-up.

Belgium international Hazard still looks rusty after an injury-hit start to his Real career and this was optimised by missing a second-half sitter. He also struck two powerful efforts straight at goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Luka Jovic, a £53m signing from Eintracht Frankfurt, was given eight minutes as a substitute and is yet to score for Real, while defender £43m former Porto defender Eder Militao remained on the bench once again.

Striker Karim Benzema flashed a shot narrowly over and saw a rising strike pushed out by Muslera with the busy Uruguayan making a total of 12 saves in the contest.

Galatasaray, meanwhile, are currently sixth in the league, four points adrift of surprise leaders Alanyaspor, and continued their dreadful Champions League run, now winning just two of their last 23 games in the competition.

They should have claimed at least a point from this game but could not find a way past ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois, who dived low to his left to keep out Younes Belhanda’s first-time strike.

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