Football

Bale cries foul over unfair red card

Gareth Bale has complained that he was harshly treated, after the first red card of his Real Madrid career cost the European champions in a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Las Palmas yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Bale kicked out at Jonathan Viera twice before finally pushing the Las Palmas midfielder to the ground early in the second half with the scores level at 1-1.

"I don't believe that it was deserving of a red card," the Welshman told Real Madrid TV.

"I was shown the yellow for the foul, I was then pushed and I just pushed him back.

"I want to apologise to the team and the fans. I hope to learn from my mistake."

Real had looked set for a first home league defeat in a year as Las Palmas took advantage of Bale's dismissal to lead 3-1 with just three minutes remaining through goals by Viera and Kevin-Prince Boateng.

However, Cristiano Ronaldo's double salvaged a draw that keeps Real just a point adrift of league leaders Barcelona with a game in hand.

"We can't look for excuses," said Real boss Zinedine Zidane.

"What we can do is improve our performance. We are not happy with how we are playing.

"There are moments in the season like this. The past three or four games things haven't gone as we would want, but we are not going to look for excuses in the referees."

In a recurring theme of Real's season, a stunning late effort undid a lot of the damage caused by a below-par display.

The European champions trailed Villarreal 2-0 last Sunday before a rousing fightback in the final 25 minutes sealed a 3-2 win.

However, having also lost 2-1 at Valencia last week after conceding twice in the first 10 minutes, Zidane insisted Los Blancos can't always leave themselves with a mountain to climb.

"We can't go over the top. There are things we have done well this year, but we have to analyse it and we will change things," added the Frenchman.

"We have shown we have character and we can do more. We have to improve particularly in our first-half performances."

Barcelona took over top spot from Real after a 6-1 thrashing of Sporting Gijon earlier.

The two sides are still to meet at Real's Santiago Bernabeu next month, but Zidane rejected suggestions that Real are in danger of throwing the title away.

"We are going to fight, " said Zidane. "We are not leaders, but the league is still open. You win leagues at the end (of the season), not now." - AFP

REAL MADRIDla ligaZinedine Zidane