Real Madrid, Ju­ven­tus among qual­i­fiers in UCL

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

LISBON, Por­tu­gal (AP): De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Real Madrid ad­vanced from the group stage of the Cham­pi­ons League for the 20th straight time af­ter beat­ing 10-man Sport­ing Lisbon 2-1 yes­ter­day.

Also book­ing their pas­sage to the knock­out stage yes­ter­day were Monaco, who de­feated Tot­ten­ham 2-1, Ju­ven­tus, who were 3-1 win­ners at Sevilla, Bayer Lev­erkusen de­spite their 1-1 draw at CSKA Moscow and Le­ices­ter City, which won 2-1 over Club Brugge.

Karim Ben­zema came off the bench to get the late win­ner in Por­tu­gal, scor­ing in the 87th minute.

A draw would have been enough to get Madrid through to the knock­out stages any­way, but vic­tory gave the team a chance to fin­ish first in Group F – with a home vic­tory over Borus­sia Dort­mund in the fi­nal round.

“It was im­por­tant that we won here,” Madrid coach Zine­dine Zi­dane said. “We achieved what we came to get. We are go­ing to play a fi­nal against Dort­mund now.”

The Ger­man side, which routed Le­gia War­saw 8-4, has a two-point lead over Madrid.

Ben­zema sal­vaged Madrid’s vic­tory with a header af­ter a well-placed cross by Ser­gio Ramos. That came just seven min­utes af­ter Sport­ing mid­fielder Adrien Silva equal­ized by con­vert­ing a controversial penalty kick. The penalty was awarded af­ter the ball hit Fabio Coen­trao’s arm, which he had just thrust into the air to com­plain of a hand ball by Sport­ing.

Ben­zema had been doubt­ful to play dur­ing the week be­cause of an in­jury but his re­cov­ery proved cru­cial. He en­tered the match in the 67th to re­place Fran­cisco ‘Isco’ Alar­con.

TWO SHORT

Por­tu­gal for­ward Cris­tiano Ron­aldo, re­turn­ing home to play against the team where he started his ca­reer, got an as­sist in Madrid’s first goal when he mis-hit a shot in­side the area. The ball bounced off his back foot and moved for­ward for Raphael Varane’s easy shot from close range in the first half.

It was the third straight game for Ron­aldo with­out a goal in the Cham­pi­ons League, keep­ing him two short of be­com­ing the first player to reach the 100-goal mark in Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tions.

Sport­ing’s Joao Pereira was sent off in the 64th with a straight red af­ter an al­ter­ca­tion with Madrid’s Ma­teo Ko­vacic.

Madrid scored two late goals — the first in the 89th — in the 2-1 win over Sport­ing in the teams’ opener in the group stage.

The game marked Madrid’s re­turn to Lisbon for the first time since win­ning the 2014 Cham­pi­ons League against Atletico Madrid at the Es­ta­dio da Luz.

The vic­tory ex­tended Madrid’s un­beaten streak to 30 matches in all com­pe­ti­tions. The Span­ish club has scored 25 goals in their last six away games.

Real Madrid’s Cris­tiano Ron­aldo (right) tries to get past Sport­ing’s Joao Pereira dur­ing a Cham­pi­ons League, Group F match be­tween Sport­ing CP and Real Madrid at the Al­valade sta­dium in Lisbon, yes­ter­day. Madrid won 2-1.

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