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Real Madrid spark late to beat Dortmund

On a historical night for Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid wrapped up their UEFA Champions League Group H campaign with a 3-2 victory over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

The Portuguese superstar became the first man ever to score in all six Champions League group stage matches, as Real concluded the group in second-place, three points behind Tottenham.

Borja Mayoral opened the scoring before Ronaldo’s historic score, but Dortmund responded through a pair of goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. However, a late strike from Lucas Vazquez earned the win for the hosts.

Still, the fact that Real allowed Dortmund to rally from two goals down to pull level will concern, as will the injury to centre-back Raphael Varane, meaning the French boss will be without Varane, Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Casemiro for the Sevilla clash on Saturday.

To start, Zidane gave Mayoral a chance to show his wares at centre forward, flanked by Ronaldo and Lucas Vazquez, while Theo Hernandez also enjoyed a rare nod at left-back.

Real started off strong and caught Dortmund in transition to open the scoring, 1-0, just eight minutes in. Ronaldo received a ball on the left and cut inside, bringing defenders with him, and fed Isco, whose heavy touch fell for Mayoral and it was an easy shot into net for the 20-year-old.

Ronaldo’s historical goal came just minutes later, as he received a simple pass from Mateo Kovacic and from the smallest of spaces curled in a right-footer that Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki could only watch drop into the top right corner of the net for a 2-0 Real lead.

It wasn’t until midway through the half that Dortmund got a foothold in the affair, thanks in part to United States international Cristian Pulisic, who darted through the Real defence and nearly set up Aubameyang, but Varane swooped in to clear. Dortmund kept at it and Aubameyang should have scored when Marc Bartra found him after a defensive error from Ramos, but the Dortmund striker pulled his shot wide.

Aubameyang would make amends though on his earlier miss and halve the deficit for Dortmund, 2-1. Some slack play from Real was pounced on by Marcel Schmelzer, who then quickly crossed for Aubameyang, and barely onside, the Gabon international scored past Keylor Navas.

With momentum on their side, Dortmund started the second-half in search of an equaliser and Aubameyang would duly comply, chipping Navas to bring the Germans level 2-2 in the opening minutes of the half. The Real defence thought that Aubameyang was offside, but the flag stayed down, and after an initial save from Navas, Aubameyang made good on his second attempt.

A glaring miscue from Dahoud nearly allowed Real to respond, as he gifted a ball to Isco, who quickly found Ronaldo, but the Portuguese missed wide.

Real continued to mount more pressure, sending a barrage of deep crosses into the Dortmund area that kept the Germans pegged back. Ronaldo had a good shout for a penalty on one such ball, as he was clearly held by Dortmund centre-back Neven Subotic, but referee Pavel Kralovec thought otherwise.

You could feel a Real goal coming, and it would finally arrive in the final 10 minutes. Pulisic was dispossessed on the right and ultimately Theo found Lucas Vazquez, who struck the ball with the outside of his right foot and bounced it past Burki to complete the 3-2 scoreline.

Dortmund had one final look at an equaliser, but Shinji Kagawa lashed a shot wide, preserving the win for Los Blancos, who next host Sevilla on Saturday.

Match Sheet:

3.- Real Madrid: Keylor; Nacho, Varane (Asensio, min. 38), Ramos, Theo; Kovacic (Dani Ceballos, min. 58), Casemiro, Isco (Llorente, min. 69); Lucas Vazquez, Mayoral, Cristiano Ronaldo.

2.- Borussia Dortmund: Burki; Sokratis, Subotic, Schmelzer; Bartra (Toprak, min. 80), Sahin (Weigl, min. 65), Dahoud, Guerreiro; Pulisic, Aubameyang, Kagawa (Yarmolenko, min. 91).

Goals: 1-0, min. 8: Mayoral; 2-0, min. 12: Ronaldo; 2-1, min 43: Aubameyang; 2-2, min. 49: Aubameyang; 3-2, min. 81: Lucas Vazquez

Referee: Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic).

Yellow cards: Bartra (Min. 15) for Borussia Dortmund

Red cards: None.

Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu.

Attendance: 80.000.