Ronaldo and Kane go head-to-head in Champions League
MADRID (AP) — For once, Cristiano Ronaldo won’t go into his next match as the most prolific scorer.
Harry Kane has five goals after two group matches in the Champions League. Ronaldo has four.
They meet on Tuesday when defending champion Real Madrid hosts Tottenham in a matchup of Group H leaders.
Kane has the respect of Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.
“Things are going well for him. He is a complete player and he is always working to get to the goal,” Zidane said on Monday. “He has great speed and is good finding emptying spaces. But we know that Tottenham is not only about Kane. We will be well prepared for this game.”
Here’s what to watch out for at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium:
FIGHT FOR THE LEAD
Madrid and Tottenham are tied on points, and have the same number of goals scored and conceded. Borussia Dortmund and APOEL are yet to earn points after losing their first two matches.
“This is the first final in this group,” Zidane said. “It’s going to be a good match for those who enjoy football. Hopefully we can come out on top.”
Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino feels there’s more at stake than just the group lead.
“It is a big opportunity for us to show that we can compete at this level,” he said.
Goalkeeper Hugo Loris added: “It will be a great opportunity for us to challenge ourselves against one of the best teams in the world.”
Tottenham hosts Madrid in the next round.
Ronaldo and Kane each have 43 goals for club and country this year.
The Englishman has 15 from 14 matches this season, and Ronaldo has 10 from 12.
Kane didn’t score in Tottenham’s 1-0 win against Bournemouth on Saturday, but he had found the net nine times in his last five matches in all competitions.
“Everyone can see Kane’s one of the best players in the world right now,” Pochettino said.
Ronaldo scored his first Spanish league goal of the season against Getafe on Saturday, giving Madrid a late 2-1 victory.
“We are very happy for him,” Zidane said of Ronaldo. “It was good for him to finally score in the league. We want him to feel as comfortable as possible so he can keep scoring for us.”
All eyes will be on Kane and Ronaldo but Isco may be the deciding factor.
The Spain playmaker has been scoring goals and creating opportunities for his teammates lately. He set up Ronaldo’s late winner against Getafe with a perfect long pass over defenders.
“I’m very happy about how things are going,” Isco said. “Playing for Real Madrid isn’t easy. If you have a good game you are God, and if you miss five passes in a row they want to kick you out of the team.”
Madrid’s Luka Modric spent four years with Tottenham before joining the Spanish powerhouse in 2012, while Gareth Bale thrived with the English club for six years before his move to Madrid in 2013.
Both players were in Tottenham’s squad when it was eliminated by Madrid 5-0 on aggregate in 2011, in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Bale is out of Tuesday’s game because of an injury.
Tottenham defender Danny Rose has been added to the squad and could make his return to action 10 months after injuring his knee.
Pochettino said Rose is expected to be a reserve.
BACK IN GOAL
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas is expected to start for Madrid after recovering from a groin injury.
Navas was hurt while playing for Costa Rica during the international break, but practiced normally with the rest of the Madrid squad this week without showing any problems.
More AP Champions League coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/ChampionsLeague
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni