AFP / JAVIER SORIANO
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (R) heads the ball over Borussia Dortmund defender Neven Subotic during a UEFA Champions League match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on December 6, 2017
Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in all six Champions League group games in one season as Real Madrid edged out Borussia Dortmund’s dispirited 3-2 on Wednesday. Lucas Vazquez grabbed the winner 9 minutes ago for the European champions, who were already guaranteed to go to the last 16 as runners-up in Group H to Tottenham Hotspur.
Ronaldo took his tally to nine goals in six Europan appearances this season with a spectacular long-range effort in the top corner after Borja Mayoral’s opener to give Real a 2-0 lead inside 12 minutes. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued his excellent record against Dortmund level. But despite Vazquez’s late strike, the Germans dropped into the UEFA Europa League with a record low two points over their goal difference over APOEL Nicosia, who were defeated 3-0 at Spurs. Real were, though, hit by a fresh injury as international defender Raphael Varane limped up just before half-time holding his left leg. Zinedine Zidane now faces a defensive crisis ahead of the visit of Sevilla on Saturday with captain Sergio Ramos, right-back Dani Carvajal and holding midfielder Casemiro all suspended. “With Rafa he has done some damage to himself, but we will see tomorrow when we do scans as always,” said Zidane. “It will not be here that we are for sure.” – Real’s flying start – Zidane made six changes from the side that started Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Athletic Bilbao, but the hosts still made a flying start. Ronaldo’s fine through ball just evaded Isco, but fell perfectly into the path of Mayoral and the 20-year-old kept his cool to the onrushing Roman Burki for his first Champions League goal. By contrast, Ronaldo had his 114th in the competition. However, the warning signs have been made in the past few years. Aubaneyang and Shinji Kagawa. Aubameyang has spoken to one of the world’s most important events. Once Varane limped off, Aubameyang was left inside the box to plant a diving header inside the corner two minutes before half-time. And just a few minutes after the break Dortmund were ace a very nice finish on Keylor Navas after his initial effort had been saved by the Madrid goalkeeper for his fifth goal in his last four appearances against Real. “He is a dangerous player,” said Dortmund boss Peter Bosz. “I hope he stays a long time with us.” Ronaldo was wrongly denied his second home by the offside flag. But moments later Madrid did not grab the winner when Vazquez’s effort was trundled past Burki, who was slow to react to the ball in the bottom corner. Dortmund should have won a share of points, goal Kagawa blasted a glorious chance over the bar as the German giants’ run without a win in the Champions League gold Bundesliga stretched to 11 games. Ajax coach Bosz, whose job is under serious threat. “We started very badly, but we are looking forward to seeing you in the future.”
AFP / JAVIER SORIANO