B. Dortmund 2 - 1 Real Madrid (Champions League, Day 3)

Real Madrid lost to Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park in the third match day of the Champions League group stage. Lewandowski put the home team ahead in the 36th minute and two minutes later Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored in the last seven matches, took advantage of Özil’s assist to equalise the match with a nice chip. In the second half, in which neither team played with fear of losing the match, Schmelzer gave victory to the German team. Nevertheless, the Whites, who were playing their 350th match in the European Cup, kept alive their chances of qualifying for the next round in first place and will play two of their remaining three matches at home. A win at the Bernabéu against Dortmund in two weeks would give them sole lead of the group.

Schmelzer celebrates his goal against Real Madrid
Real Madrid stumble in Dortmund

Real Madrid only made three changes to the team that played the match against Celta. Khedira, who on 19 minutes was taken off injured and was replaced by Modric, Di María and Benzema were players included in Mourinho's team who took a gamble in playing Ramos and Essien at right and left back. Borussia Dortmund began the match looking ready right from the beginning and wanted to show Real Madrid how they had reached two years undefeated in the Bundesliga in Signal Iduna Park, but the visitors showed solidarity in the defensive and also created problems in the home team’s area. Proof of this is that in the first half hour of the match they had enjoyed 60% of the possession and had already been fouled eight times against the three that they had committed.

Until then the German team had only generated chances from the edge of the area. Kehl’s two lashes at goal (13 'and 27') were met with a great response from Casillas although the second was even better than the first. The Whites could have also taken the lead on three occasions, but Özil missed from in front of goal following a cross from the left in the 5th and Di María’s shot in the 22nd minute and Ronaldo’s in the 26th both went very high.

After that first half hour the match changed completely and control of the match went back and forth constantly between both teams. Dortmund struck first. The ball was played into the hole for Lewandowski in the 36th minute and the Pole did not falter in the one-on-one with Casillas. 1-0 and the Signal Iduna Park roared following the goal which put their team ahead, but Real Madrid did not shy away from the match and the reply was immediate. Only two minutes later from the midfield Özil saw Ronaldo's run and picked him out with a great long pass. The Portuguese, who was faster than the two players marking him subtly chipped Weidenfeller. Two more chances, one per team, came before the break. The first fell to Götze with the ball ending in Casillas’ hands in the 44th minute. The last was Ramos’ following a great cut inside past Schmelzer, but his shot went wide.

The script did not change in the second half and the alternating possession was still the order of the day. No one was afraid to lose the match, both teams attacked with everything and the chances kept coming in what was a pulsating match. Götze had the first chance on 50 minutes. His shot with the inside of the left foot after a good team move was stopped by Casillas. Di María responded. A good inside pass from Benzema and the Argentine, as Ronaldo did for the visitors’ first goal won the foot-race against the German team’s centre backs, but shot well wide in the 55th minute.

There were no truce and it was Dortmund who again went ahead on the scoreboard. Schmelzer who was alert on the edge of the area took advantage of a Casillas punched clearance to put the ball in the back of the net with a volley in the 64th minute. From that moment it was Real Madrid who featured most heavily in the match and Mourinho decided to bring Higuaín on for Benzema. The last fifteen minutes were dominated by the visitors but get the goal that they were looking for. Real Madrid, who were playing their 350th European Cup match, will play two of the three remaining matches that will bring group D to a close at home. A win at the Bernabéu against Borussia in two weeks would give them sole lead of the group.


Stadium: Signal Iduma Park
Attendance: 80,000
Goals: 1-0, min 36: Lewandowski. 1-1, min 38: Cristiano Ronaldo. 2-1, min 64: Schmelzer


Real Madrid 2 - 0 Celta (Spanish League, Day 8)

Real Madrid demonstrated against that the international break did not put the shackles on the team’s progress. The Whites earned their fifth consecutive victory at home and finished the match with a clean sheet. Higuaín, with an accurate cross-come-shot, little more than ten minutes into the first half and Ronaldo, from the penalty spot, won the game against the team from Galicia, who fought bravely and were well set out on the pitch. The Portuguese player, who has scored 11 goals in his team’s last six games, is now the leading goal scorer in la Liga, although there are still games to be played this weekend. The best possible news before the clash against Borussia in the Champions League in Dortmund on Wednesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Higuain celebrate their goals against Celta
Cristiano Ronaldo and Higuain scored against Celta

Real Madrid returned to the Bernabeu 20 days after their last match at home against Deportivo, and did so with Ramos and Essien on the wing, Modric and Alonso controlling the match in midfield, an in-form Kaká (two goals in the two matches he played for Brazil) behind the striker and Higuaín up front. It was the Argentine who opened the scoring in the eleventh minute with a cross-come-shot form the left wing that surprised Sergio, sailing over his head. It was not the Whites’ first chance; Ronaldo had an opportunity in the second minute, Kaká, two minutes later, and Ramos in the fifth minute had previously attempted to put their team ahead.

“We need to win because we can’t afford to lose points”, commented Mourinho in the press room the day before the match. His players demonstrated this on the pitch Not only because after barely ten minutes had they taken the lead, but also because of the passion they showed to win the ball back from their opponents and how they went after the second goal, which could have come at the midway point of the first half, but Ronaldo’s header from a Higuaín cross went wide from the goal mouth in the twenty-third minute.

The home side’s dominance did not flummox the team from Galicia that was well set out defensively and even attempted to surprise the Whites on the counter attack, with Iago Aspas as their most advanced player. It was the reserve team player that took the visitor’s first shot on goal in the twenty-sixth minute, but Casillas, who was very watchful, stopped his finish with a beautiful stretching save. Ronaldo, once again very active, replicated the visiting side’s effort twelve minutes later in what was to be the final action of the first half. Alonso and Modric combined and the Portuguese, in the penalty arc, lifted the ball off the ground and immediately struck it without letting it touch the ground in an attempt to squeeze the ball past Sergio. Only the crossbar prevented the work of art from increasing the scoreboard.

Mourinho looked for greater width after the break, deciding to bring on Di María for Kaká. Celta showed themselves to be brave and brought up their defensive lines. The change made by their coach in the fifty-second minute corroborated this; Mario Bermejo was brought on for Bustos. Paco Herrera brought on a forward to play alongside Aspas up front, replacing a midfielder. Then Park, the home side’s only international player, came on for the reserve team player six minutes later.

Despite this, the opportunities continued to fall to the home side. Ramos, with a volley, had the first chance, but his shot went very high over the bar from Ronaldo’s precise pass in the fifty-eighth minute. The Portuguese player also had a chance to score after a great cross from Essien, although his header from inside the area once again went wide. The second goal belonged to the Portuguese player, being scored in the sixty-seventh minute. Özil was clearly brought down by Cabral inside the area and Ronaldo, with an astonishing calmness, converted the penalty. It was his eleventh goal in his team’s last six matches.

The goal saw the few chances that Celta had dry up and sealed a hard-fought victory against a brave team that was well set out defensively. Real Madrid, therefore, completed their fifth consecutive victory at home, Ronaldo scored in his sixth consecutive game and Casillas, who made three great stops at the end of the clash and was given an ovation by the fans, kept a clean sheet. This is the best possible news before facing Borussia in the Champions League on Wednesday in Dortmund.


Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 74,815
Goals: 1-0, m.11: Higuain. 2-0, m.67: Cristiano Ronaldo (pen).
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