Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 2nd 2014 Contents A75
Thursday, October 2, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
GENEVA---Real Madrid and Liverpool found their
combined 15 European titles were no protection on
the road in the Champions League yesterday.
Ten-time champion Real Madrid trailed early against
Bulgarian newcomer Ludogorets Razgrad, had a Cris-
tiano Ronaldo penalty saved and needed substitute
Karim Benzema s 77th-minute goal to force a 2-1 win.
Liverpool lost 1-0 at Basel, which specialises in
beating English opponents, and trails Group B leader
Madrid before hosting the title holder next.
Atletico Madrid beat Juventus 1-0, and Malmo s 2-
0 victory against Olympiakos leaves Group A with all
four teams on three points.
Borussia Dortmund won 3-0 at Anderlecht, and
leads Group D by three points from Arsenal, which
beat Galatasaray 4-1.
Zenit St. Petersburg and Monaco drew 0-0 in Group
C, while Bayer Leverkusen beat Benfica 3-1.
Unfazed by the star-studded visitors in its first
home game in Europe s top-tier competition, Ludo-
gorets surprised the defending champions by taking
the lead in the sixth minute.
Ronaldo squandered his first chance to level when
his penalty kick was saved by goalkeeper Vladislav
Stoyanov in the 10th. But he didn t miss a second
time from the spot in the 24th.
With Ludogorets holding its own, Benzema went
on in the 67th and was soon broke the deadlock when
he volleyed in Marcelo s cross to secure Madrid s
second win of the tournament.
While Madrid held on for the tougher-than-expected
win, Liverpool was beaten 1-0 at Basel in the other
Group B match.
Liverpool s loss left Madrid alone in first place of
the group with six points. Basel and Liverpool have
three points, while Ludogorets was left with zero
despite two strong showings against Madrid and Liv-
Ronaldo s goal took his total in the Champions
League to 69, giving him one more than Barcelona s
Lionel Messi as the two stars race to reach Raul Gon-
zalez s tournament mark of 71.
He finished the match grimacing and favoring his
left leg after a late tackle by Anicet Abel left him
writhing on the turf.
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti rested some of his
first-choice players and gave starts to Javier Hernandez,
Asier Illarramendi and Franciso "Isco" Alarcon.
And although Isco was Madrid s best player with
his incisive runs and passes on the left side of the
midfield, Ancelotti had to turn to Benzema to replace
Hernandez with the former Manchester United forward
lacking his finishing touch.
Ludogorets fans had to travel 335 kilometres (210
miles) to play at Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia because
the club s 6,000-seat arena does not meet UEFA stan-
But travel-weary supporters soon had a good reason
to celebrate after Madrid turned over possession and
Marcelinho got off a shot which glanced off a defender
and earned a corner kick. The 30-year-old Brazilian
turned that opportunity into a stunning opener when
he headed in the cross flicked on to the far post.
Madrid started to take better care of the ball and
was soon creating a steady stream of scoring chances.
A deflected Isco pass left Hernandez alone in the
area, where defender Yordan Minev fouled him to stop
him from facing the goalkeeper one-on-one.
The risky move paid off when he escaped with only
a yellow card and Ronaldo missed the penalty.
Ronaldo fell after contact with Cosmin Moti in the
area and was rewarded with a penalty following another
attack led by Isco. The Portugal forward chose the
same right side of Stoyanov, but this time put an
unreachable strike just inside the post.
Ludogorets still remained dangerous and goalie Iker
Casillas had to get low to parry Mihail Alexandrov s
shot on the break in the 31st.
An otherwise quiet Gareth Bale tested Stoyanov
with a header in the 52nd, but it was Casillas who
made one-handed saves to deny long strikes by Fabio
Espinho and Marcelinho.
Ronaldo was inches from a second goal when Minev
cleared his shot off the line seconds after Benzema
entered the game.
Benzema then took full advantage of the only blown
coverage by Ludogorets when his marker apparently
fell, leaving him alone in front of goal to turn in Marce-
lo s pass.
B soccer match
Madrid wins late, Liverpool
loses in Champs League
Arsenal 4 Galatasaray 1
Basel 1 Liverpool 0
Zenit 0 Monaco 0
Anderlecht 0 Borussia
Atletico Madrid 1 Juventus 0
Bayer Leverkusen 3 Benfica 1
Ludogorets 1 Real Madrid 2
Malmo 2 Olympiacos 0
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