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Ronaldo’s late strike stuns City

Madrid/ Rome, Sep 19 (IANS)
Published on 19 Sep. 2012 11:27 PM IST
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Real Madrid scored two goals in the last four minutes to come back from 1-2 down and seal a dramatic 3-2 win at home over Manchester City in the first game of their Champions League group phase.
Things had looked bleak for Madrid when they went 1-2 behind to a Koralov free kick five minutes from the end. But the home side's greater attacking convictions saw them snatch late goals from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo at the Bernabeu here Tuesday, reports Xinhua.

Following his complaints at his side's defeat in Seville at the weekend, Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho made changes to his starting squad. Rafael Varene replaced Sergio Ramos in defence in a move that can probably be seen as a adjustment, while Michael Essien made his debut in a three man central midfield, with Mesut Ozil also dropped.

Manchester City keeper Joe Hart had to be attentive to make two good saves from Cristiano Ronaldo as City relinquished possession and defending deep with Madrid moving the ball at will.

City were defending deep and limiting Madrid to shots from distance, but visiting coach Roberto Mancini was clearly unhappy with the display as he replaced the ineffective Samir Nasri with Alexandr Kolarov just after the half hour.

Madrid dominated the first half and were still on top when the second kicked off. Mourinho replaced Essien with Ozil midway through the half in a clearly attacking move, but it was City who took the lead when Edin Dzeko, who had just replaced David Silva, finished off a fine break started by Toure Yaya.

Mourinho reacted by replacing Gonzalo Higuain and Sami Khedira with Karim Benzema and Luka Modric, just before Toure fired into the side netting. Marcelo levelled for Madrid with 15 minutes remaining with a right foot shot which deflected off Javi Garcia to leave Hart with no chance.

Manchester City retook the lead with a Kolarov free kick which evaded everyone and went in at the far post with just five minute remaining, but Benzema levelled two minutes later with his first goal since May.

He set up Ronaldo a minute later but Hart again responded with a fine save, but Ronaldo scored a winning goal for Madrid in the last minute with a shot that dipped horribly to leave Hart clutching shadows. Unsurprisingly this time, he did celebrate his goal.

Meanwhile, AC Milan failed to shrug off their disappointing form as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Anderlecht at home in the Champions League football first round group match.
Milan have lost all their two home games so far this season and Tuesday night they were desperately hoping for some luck to get their campaign going, reports Xinhua.

But the visitors turned out to be a brighter side in the first half, with Bram Nuytinck having a powerful shot charged down before a fine effort from Sacha Kljestan was parried away by Christian Abbiati.

Anderlecht had their best chance to take the lead early in the second half.
Lucas Biglia, who had moments earlier seen a long-range effort blocked by Daniele Bonera, got into a great position only to slice wide on the volley.

Milan responded with Emanuelson flashing a shot wide before Boateng sent yet another header wide, this time from a free-kick. Antonio Nocerino then stretched Proto with a shot across goal before Stephan El Shaarawi's header brought an excellent save from the Anderlecht goalkeeper.

UCL Results
AC Milan 0 - 0 Anderlecht
B.Dortmund 1 - 0 Ajax
Din Zagreb 0 - 2 FC Porto
Malaga 3 - 0 Zenit St P’sbg
Montpellier 1 - 2 Arsenal
Olympiakos 1 - 2 Schalke 04
Paris SG 4 - 1 Dynamo Kiev
Real Madrid 3 - 2 Man City

AC Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri put on a brave face to claim that his side move a small step forward following this game.

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