Dort­mund strike late, beat Madrid to top spot

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

MADRID: Marco Reus’s dra­matic equaliser two min­utes from time en­sured Borus­sia Dort­mund beat hold­ers Real Madrid to top spot in Cham­pi­ons League Group F with a pul­sat­ing 2-2 draw yes­ter­day.

With both sides al­ready qual­i­fied, a dou­ble from Karim Ben­zema looked to have Real well set to leapfrog Dort­mund and se­cure a home tie in the sec­ond leg of their last-16 tie.

How­ever, Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang re­duced the ar­rears be­fore sub­sti­tute Reus slid in to turn Aubameyang’s dan­ger­ous low cross high into the net.

A point does at least en­sure Madrid match a club record 34 games un­beaten in all com­pe­ti­tions, while Los Blan­cos are now also en­sured of avoid­ing the likes of Bay­ern Mu­nich, Manch­ester City or Paris Saint-Ger­main in Mon­day’s draw.

Madrid coach Zine­dine Zi­dane kept his prom­ise to go for vic­tory de­spite the pos­si­bil­ity of an eas­ier draw by re­main­ing in sec­ond with Casemiro and James Ro­driguez com­ing into the side in only two changes from Satur­day’s Cla­sico.

How­ever, Dort­mund were well wor­thy of a point hav­ing cre­ated a huge num­ber of chances in an end-to-end en­counter.

Dort­mund goal­keeper Ro­man Wei­den­feller was busy early on as he par­ried a Ben­zema drive be­fore deny­ing Ro­driguez twice in quick suc­ces­sion.

Ben­zema wasn’t to be de­nied on 28 min­utes when he bun­dled home Dani Car­va­jal’s low cross at the back post. Real only went in ahead at the break, though, thanks to a mix­ture of good goal­keep­ing from Key­lor Navas and way­ward fin­ish­ing from the vis­i­tors.

Amer­i­can won­der kid Chris­tian Pulisic wasted a great chance when his weak ef­fort was placed too close to Navas be­fore the Costa Rica in­ter­na­tional pro­duced a bril­liant stop to turn An­dre Schuer­rle’s free-kick be­hind.

An­other dan­ger­ous break mo­ments later saw Gon­zalo Cas­tro burst through on goal, but he tried to square for Aubameyang and over­hit his pass.

RON­ALDO FRUS­TRATED

Dort­mund were even more prof­li­gate at the start of the sec­ond pe­riod as Ous­mane Dem­bele and Cas­tro fluffed their lines from point-blank range.

Ben­zema should have got his sec­ond of the night when Wei­den­feller pro­duced a bril­liant save to parry the French­man’s vol­ley.

How­ever, Ben­zema only had sec­onds to stew on that miss as mo­ments later he bul­leted home a header from Ro­driguez’s inch-per­fect cross.

Just when Madrid looked in con­trol, Dort­mund fi­nally took one of their chances when cap­tain Mar­cel Sch­melzer’s run wasn’t tracked and his low cross was grate­fully tapped home by Aubameyang for his 19th goal in as many games this sea­son.

Cris­tiano Ron­aldo’s week had been dom­i­nated by un­wanted head­lines off the field sur­round­ing al­le­ga­tions he stored mil­lions of eu­ros from im­age rights in tax havens.

And there wasn’t much for the Por­tuguese to shout about as he was held score­less for a fourth straight Cham­pi­ons League game by more Wei­den­feller hero­ics to turn a ris­ing drive headed for the top cor­ner be­hind.

Ron­aldo then seemed in dis­be­lief as he struck the base of the post with just Wei­den­feller to beat. And that miss proved costly as Aubameyang stormed past Ser­gio Ramos and pro­duced the per­fect cross for Reus to slide home the equaliser.

MADRID: Real Madrid’s Karim Ben­zema, cen­ter, heads the ball as he scores his team’s sec­ond goal dur­ing the Cham­pi­ons League, Group F, soc­cer match be­tween Real Madrid and Borus­sia Dort­mund at the San­ti­ago Bern­abeu sta­dium in Madrid, Spain, yes­ter­day.

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