Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Thriller in Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner in the 90th minute as Real Madrid came back to earn a 3-2 win against Manchester City as the season Champions League opener turned into a goal fest over the last 25 minutes. 

City were pegged back for much of the first half but twice took the lead in a frantic back-and-forth finish. Eden Dzeko scored from a counterattack in the 68th minute before Marcelo's curling shot glanced off Javi Garcia into the net to make it 1-1 in the 76th. 

Aleksandar Kolarov looked to have handed the visitors the victory as he curled home a free kick in the 85th before Madrid won the duel between the champions of Spain and England. 

City goalkeeper Joe Hart let Ronaldo's dipping shot slip past him after Madrid striker Karim Benzema had equalized in the 87th minute at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. 

Both Mourinho and Roberto Mancini sprung selection surprises, although the former made the more drastic changes following his team's poor start to their league campaign. World champion Sergio Ramos was dropped from the Madrid defence, with 19-year-old Raphael Varane stepping in, while City handed a debut to the similarly inexperienced Matija Nastasic, with Joleon Lescott restricted to a place among the substitutes. 

Toure, who had looked City's biggest threat all night long, broke out of the midfield again to create a two-on-one attack and this time successfully found his target with a simple through ball. Dzeko took the pass in his stride and beat Casillas with a composed, low left-footed finish. 

The Spanish champions immediately looked more dangerous in the final third following the changes, though, and Marcelo curled a right-footed shot into the top corner after shaking off Kompany just outside the penalty area. 

Kolarov then delivered a free-kick that found its way into the back of the net. 

Incredibly, though, there was more to come, and Mancini's celebrations on the sideline were short-lived. Benzema was next to strike after a mazy run from Di Maria. And City's hearts were broken when Ronaldo stepped inside Zabaleta and delivered a dipping shot to beat Joe Hart to make it 3-2. 

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