In the 73rd minute, the Real Madrid captain successfully converted a penalty kick, beating Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Unai Simón, and effectively securing his squad’s top ranking in Spain’s top-flight soccer tournament—a full four points ahead of its fierce rival, Barcelona, who won earlier against Villarreal (4-1).
Ramos’s goal was the only one scored in the match, and was the Spanish defender’s second straight penalty kick, after also converting from the spot last Thursday versus Getafe.
The game between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao was characterized by few scoring chances, with the former team’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois only logging a single save during the entire match.
Real Madrid’s previous clash against Getafe was also decided by a single goal, with Ramos once again the difference-maker, beating the opposing team’s goalkeeper from the penalty spot, just as he did more recently versus Athletic Bilbao.
Speaking of Courtois, the Belgian shot-stopper now holds the distinction of being the first goalkeeper to record 17 clean sheets for the Real Madrid soccer club, since Francisco Buyo did the same for the organization during the 1994-1995 season.
As for the Real Madrid captain, Ramos also managed to achieve new milestones in his highly-decorated career.
This season is now his best ever in terms of goal-scoring for Real Madrid, with 10 goals scored in La Liga, and another dozen scored in other competitions.
With his successful penalty kick, he now has 71 La Liga goals, which is the highest ever scored by any defender in the history of La Liga.
Real Madrid’s defeat of Athletic Bilbao was not without controversy.
Ramos was only able to take the spot-kick after his teammate, Brazilian defender Marcelo, was brought down inside the penalty area by Athletic Bilbao midfielder Dani Garcia.
The call had to undergo a VAR review, and after checking the monitor, the referee then pointed to the penalty spot, making way for Ramos to score the game-winning goal.
Interestingly enough, later in the game, the Real Madrid center back appeared to have stepped on the foot of Athletic Bilbao midfielder Raúl García inside the penalty area, but this time around, no VAR review was given nor any penalty kick awarded.
But a win is a win, and every single match outcome from hereon will prove critical, as Real Madrid and Barcelona race towards the end of the restarted season.
Real Madrid and Barcelona each have four matches to play in the weeks to come (see schedule below).
Images courtesy of Real Madrid C.F./Twitter
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