Zidane equals Ancelotti’s unbeaten mark at 31 games with Real Madrid

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Real Madrid’s 2-1 La Liga over Sporting Gijon at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon took manager Zinedine Zidane and his team to 31 games unbeaten — equalling a mark set by his former mentor Carlo Ancelotti.

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Cristiano Ronaldo put Madrid on the way to victory with an early penalty and diving header, but Carlos Carmona pulled one back for relegation-threatened Sporting before half-time.

In pouring rain at the Bernabeu, the pace dipped in the second half, and Sporting might have equalised late on. But Croatia international Duje Cop skied a penalty over the crossbar and Madrid held on to remain clear atop the La Liga table and undefeated in all competitions for over six months.

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Madrid’s last defeat was 0-2 at Wolfsburg in the Champions League on April 6 last season and since then they have recorded 23 victories and eight draws in all competitions, while scoring 86 goals and conceding just 28.

Under Ancelotti with Zidane as his assistant, Madrid put together 26 wins and five draws during the 2013-14 campaign, with the team scoring 87 goals and conceding 20, with the run bookended by defeats in Clasicos to Madrid’s rivals Barcelona.

Madrid next host third-tier La Cultural Leonesa at the Bernabeu on Wednesday evening in a Copa del Rey last 32 second leg, before they head to Barca’s Camp Nou next weekend.

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The Bernabeu outfit’s club record of unbeaten games is 34, set during the 1988-89 season when Dutchman Leo Beenhakker was coach. Should Zidane’s side keep going past La Cultural and Barca they then have Borussia Dortmund at home in the Champions League, and then Deportivo La Coruna at the Bernabeu in La Liga.

The La Liga record for matches unbeaten is held by Barcelona (39 games), set during the reign of current Blaugrana boss Luis Enrique during the 2015-16 campaign.

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Juventus hold the European record for their unbeaten run of 43 matches when current Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was in charge back in 2011-12.

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