Real Madrid held in third straight

For the third straight match Real Madrid were kept from victory as they drew 2-2 with Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night in Champions League action at the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund.

It marks the third consecutive draw for Los Blancos, who previous had played to a 1-1 final versus Villarreal at home and then succumbed to a late equaliser last Saturday versus Las Palmas.

While the result extended Real’s Champions League group stage unbeaten run to 23 games, it will surely feel like two points lost after having taken a 2-1 lead in the 68th minute through Raphael Varane. Earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo had shaken off the controversy of his early substitution on Saturday to hand Real a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equalised for the hosts in the 43rd minute.

Real boss Zinedine Zidane made a few tweaks to his starting XI from Gran Canaria. Of note, goalkeeper Keylor Navas enjoyed his first action this season after recovering from injury. In defence, Danilo got the nod at left-back over Nacho, while Varane continued to start ahead of Pepe at centre-back. The midfield was attack-heavy, with James entering in the fray, and up front the usual trio of the BBC led the forward line.

The match started at a spell-binding pace, as the lack of defensive rigidity in the Real midfield led to a bevy chances for both sides. Just when it looked like Dortmund would be first to break the deadlock, Real struck through none other than Ronaldo.

James collected a pass down the right and played a no-look pass to Gareth Bale, who showed his creative best by back-heeling to the nearby Ronaldo, whose shot rifled past Bürki into the net to give Real a 1-0 lead. After hardly acknowledging his manager when he was subbed off in Gran Canaria on Saturday, Ronaldo made a point to salute his coach after his opening score.

The goal silenced the Westfalenstadion briefly, but they soon found their voice as Dortmund hunted for an equaliser. Ousmane Demeble, in particular, was causing problems for the Real defence. The young Frenchman was having his way with Danilo and could have scored on a number of occasions if not for Sergio Ramos’ last-ditch interventions.

Real slowly wrestled back control and were managing the game well until a massive error from Navas opened the door for Dortmund to draw level. A free kick from distance was hit right at the Costa Rican, but instead of catching the ball, Navas inexplicably punched it straight back out, striking Varane and allowing Aubameyang to pounce and tap in from a foot out.

The tempo slowed in the second half, with neither team finding very much precision in their passing. Real could only shake their heads when they squandered a pair of chances around the hour mark – Ronaldo missing wide on a header and Benzema failing to connect on a cross – but their insistence would bear fruit as they regained the lead in the 68th minute. Ronaldo floated a ball to Benzema after the far post that the Frenchman looked to be heading in. Instead the ball banged off the crossbar, but it fell right to the feet of Varane, who reacted quickly and poked it home to make it 2-1 to Real.

Navas would make up for his earlier gaffe with a superb save on a bullet from Raphaël Guerreiro as Dortmund sought a response. But there was nothing the Tico could do to prevent substitute Andre Schürrle from finding the back of the net just minutes from time. A cross from United States international Christian Pulisic deflected off the chest of Dani Carvajal and fell to the former Chelsea man, who hammered home to send Dortmund’s famed Yellow Wall into pandemonium.

Real looked to squeeze in a late winner and Bale had a decent look in stoppage time, but was unable to connect with a cross at the far post.

Real return to action in La Liga on Sunday at home against Eibar.

Source: Marca.com

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