TOPMATCH

The Herald - Sport - - FOOTBALL -

Un­der-fire Rafael Ben­itez sur­vived a late scare on a night when Real Madrid won their Cham­pi­ons League group, con­ced­ing three late goals against Shakhtar Donetsk but hold­ing out for a 4-3 win.

Cris­tiano Ron­aldo’s brace com­ple­mented goals from Luka Mo­dric and Dani Car­va­jal at the Lviv Arena, al­though the pres­sure has not en­tirely been lifted on their man­ager.

Ben­itez was given a vote of con­fi­dence by club pres­i­dent Florentino Perez fol­low­ing Satur­day’s rout by Barcelona, but both will have watched the last 12 min­utes in hor­ror as Shakhtar clawed it back to 4-3 through Alex Teix­eira’s dou­ble and Dentinho.

Only four play­ers re­mained from the team thumped 4-0 by Barca, with Ron­aldo, Gareth Bale, Raphael Varane and Mo­dric the sur­vivors for this Group A en­counter.

The visi­tors took the lead in the 19th minute when the lively Bale cap­i­talised on an er­ror by An­driy Py­a­tov to cross for Ron­aldo to head home from close range, be­fore sec­ond half strikes from Car­va­jal, Mo­dric and an­other from Ron­aldo in the 70th minute gave them a seem­ingly unas­sail­able lead.

How­ever, seven min­utes later Real be­gan to un­ravel, with Teix­eira scor­ing ei­ther side of Brazil­ian team­mate Dentinho bundling home a cor­ner to set up a nervy fi­nale.

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