22 November 2017
Champions League holder and La Liga Champion, Real Madrid, went into their penultimate group stage game in this season’s Uefa Champions League on the back of a despicable display in the weekend’s Madrid derby, but Zinedine Zidane’s men looked a different team on Tuesday night as they brushed aside APOEL Nicosia on their way to progressing to the next round of the elite competition for the 21th straight season, beating their own record.
The men from the Spanish capital put six goals past APOEL on a night that saw Cristiano Ronaldo break his own record in the Champions League – 18 goals scored in the competition in a calendar year, the previous record was 16 goals, set by the same man in 2015.
Ronaldo scored Madrid’s last two goals after he had set up strike partner, Karim Benzema, for the team’s fourth and the Frenchman’s brace. Benzema who had come under much criticism for his form this season had earlier put Madrid two ahead following Luka Modric’s volleyed opener and Nacho Fernandez’ easy tap in for the visitor’s third.
With the result Madrid secured qualification though they are second behind Tottenham who had to come from behind to score a 2 – 1 win at Dortmund after the German side had taken the lead through Aubameyang. Harry Kane brought the English side level while Min Son bagged the winner. Dele Alli provided the two goals.
Another English team, Manchester City, on same night, were almost held at home by the visiting Dutch side, Feyeenord. But the resurgent Raheem Sterling came to the rescue with an 88th minute winner. Pep Guardiola’s side who have scored freely, both in the league and in Europe, couldn’t just break down the resolute Dutchmen until very late in the game. The goals are drying up for the Cityzens as they’ve only managed three goals in their last two matches, a number they often reach in the first half of a match before now. Are they losing steam?
Talking about losing steam, Liverpool totally lost steam after racing three goals clear of host, Sevilla. The Spanish side overturned the three goal deficit to secure a draw at home and leave things interesting in the group going into their final group match.
A Sadio Mane brace and a goal from Roberto Firminho gave the visitors the lead in the first half. But Sevilla came out steaming in the second half as they scored three goals of their own. Ben Yedder bagged a brace while Guido Pizarro scored the equalizer in the third minute of added time.
Liverpool’s next opponent, Chelsea are in action today as they visit Azerbaijan to take on Qarabag.