Real strike late
be difficult, but we kept going and in the end got the goal through Karim. I am happy for him and the team as a whole.”
Ronaldo’s name was loudly cheered amidst the otherwise din of whistles that greeted the announcement of the Real team, whilst a banner with the message “Made in Sporting” was raised by the home fans with a picture of a teenage Ronaldo in their famous green and white hooped shirt.
Despite leaving Sporting for Manchester United at just 18 having not even won a trophy with the Portuguese giants, Ronaldo is revered in Lisbon having captained his country to a first ever international tournament win at Euro 2016.
The affection shown may even have had an effect on the normally ruthless Ronaldo as for the first time in four meetings against Sporting he failed to find the net.
After an intense Sporting start buoyed by a boisterous atmosphere, the holders slowly grabbed a stranglehold of the GERMANY game and went in front on 29 minutes when Luka Modric’s low freekick was deflected into Varane’s path and the French international swept home his third goal of the season.
Sporting’s chances looked to have gone when Pereira was harshly shown red for an off-the-ball clash with Mateo Kovacic.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Sporting were level 10 minutes from time when Silva blasted home from the penalty spot after substitute Fabio Coentrao had been penalised for handball.
Joel Campbell even had an effort saved by Costa Rican international teammate Keylor Navas as Sporting searched for the winner they needed to keep their Champions League hopes alive.
Instead, they were hit with a Real sucker punch as Benzema fired low into the far corner to set up a shootout with Dortmund for top spot in a fortnight. – AFP
Dortmund’s Marco Reus (left) and Legia´s Michal Kucharczyk vie for the ball during their Champions League match yesterday. –