Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema scored a late winner to ensure they got to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League in the game against Sporting CP on Tuesday.
A draw would have been enough to ensure Zinedine Zidane’s men qualified alongside Borussia Dortmund but a victory meant Madrid continued their fine form.
Real Madrid humbled city rival Atletico Madrid 3-0 at Vicente Calderon last week in the La Liga to go four points clear in the league, and Zidane would be happy with the result recorded in Portugal. Zidane made just one change to the team that defeated Atletico in Sergio Ramos coming back to centre of defence.
The game was a special one for Cristiano Ronaldo as he was returning to his old club. The Portugal international used to play for Sporting before he moved to England to play for Manchester United. Ahead of the game, the pre-match talk was all about him, particularly after he scored a hat trick in the game against Atletico.
During the clash with sporting, Ronaldo had an early chance with a low drive but Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patricio was up to the task. After 29 minutes, Los Blancos broke the deadlock through a Raphael Varane effort. Playmaker Luka Modric has sent in a low free kick, and then Ronaldo sent the ball within six yards for Varane to score from close range.
Sporting also made immediate impact through Bruno Cesar but Ramos cleared the ball. Cesar had another effort stopped by Keylor Navas before the break. Gareth Bale picked up an ankle injury and had to be replaced by Marco Asensio. Joao Pereira received marching orders but Adrien Silva got the equalizer in the 80th minute from the penalty spot. The goal brought back life and Joel Campbell – on loan from Arsenal – almost got the winner. Benzema latched on to a Ramos cross to get the winner three minutes from regular time for Madrid.