Real thump Plzen

> Madrid one win away from Cham­pi­ons League last 16

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

KARIM BEN­ZEMA’S first-half brace pro­pelled Real Madrid to a 5-0 thrash­ing of Vik­to­ria Plzen in the Cham­pi­ons League yes­ter­day, putting the hold­ers one win from the last 16 after a third straight vic­tory un­der San­ti­ago So­lari.

For­mer Real mid­fielder So­lari took over from the sacked Julen Lopetegui as in­terim coach on Oct 29, and has now seen his side score 11 times with­out re­ply fol­low­ing wins over Melilla and Real Val­ladolid.

“I think we played a very nice game to­day, we scored won­der­ful goals,” So­lari told re­porters.

“A 5-0 win in the Cham­pi­ons League – I can only be happy with that.”

The 42-year-old Ar­gen­tinian dis­missed ques­tions about his pos­si­ble fu­ture as Real’s head coach.

“I only think about the next game. Foot­ball is about the present and it’s the next game that mat­ters,” he said, with a trip to Celta Vigo on Sun­day next up for Real.

Ben­zema struck first in the 21st minute yes­ter­day, weav­ing his way through the Plzen de­fence and beat­ing goal­keeper Ales Hruska with a low shot.

Casemiro made it two shortly af­ter­wards by nod­ding in a Toni Kroos cor­ner, and Ben­zema headed home him­self in the 37th minute after Gareth Bale had found him un­marked just yards out.

Bale scored five min­utes be­fore half­time, beat­ing Hruska with a low left-footed shot at his far post fol­low­ing Ben­zema’s flick-on header.

Kroos rounded off the scor­ing in the 68th minute, curl­ing a sump­tu­ous lob over the stranded Hruska fol­low­ing a pass from ris­ing star Vini­cius Ju­nior, who came on as a se­cond-half sub­sti­tute. The 18-year-old Brazil­ian, signed from Fla­mengo for € 45 mil­lion (RM212m) in the close sea­son, made his Cham­pi­ons League de­but after scor­ing his maiden La Liga goal against Val­ladolid at the week­end. Real are now level with Roma at the top of Group G on nine points, after the Ital­ians’ 2-1 win at CSKA Moscow. CSKA are third with four points, while Plzen sit at the bot­tom and are out of con­tention to progress. Real were with­out the in­jured Marcelo and fel­low de­fend­ers Raphael Varane and Dani Car­va­jal, who did not travel to Plzen, a western Czech city fa­mous for its lager beer. Plzen, the reign­ing Czech cham­pi­ons, had two at­tempts on goal from long range in the se­cond half, but Jan Kopic saw his ef­fort stopped by Thibaut Cour­tois and Pa­trik Hrosovsky, who scored for Plzen in their 2-1 loss in Madrid in Oc­to­ber, fired wide. In their next Cham­pi­ons League game, Real face Roma in Rome on Nov 27. – AFP

REUTERSPIX

Real Madrid’s Karim Ben­zema (left) in ac­tion with Vik­to­ria Plzen’s Ro­man Hub­nik dur­ing their UEFA Cham­pi­ons League match at Doosan Arena yes­ter­day. –Robert Le­wandowski marked his 100th Euro­pean match with both goals in yes­ter­day’s home vic­tory over the reign­ing Greek cham­pi­ons as Bay­ern moved top of Group E. Kra­maric gave the Ger­mans hope, and Kader­abek popped up at the back post to stab in a dra­matic lev­eller in the se­cond minute of added time and ex­tend Hof­fen­heim’s de­but group-stage cam­paign.“We didn’t re­alise that in a foot­ball match, noth­ing is ever fin­ished,” be­moaned Lyon mid­fielder Lu­cas Tousart to“These are un­ac­cept­able er­rors to make at this level, when you’re look­ing to qual­ify... It’s so an­noy­ing to end up with a draw when we had the game in our hands.”Lyon slip three points be­hind Group F lead­ers Manch­ester City as they bid to qual­ify for the last 16 for the first time since the 2011-2012 sea­son.“We played a good match any­way, even if we don’t leave with vic­tory and we are dis­ap­pointed,” said Fekir.

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