CL: Benzema scores late as Real Madrid edge Sporting Lisbon to enter last 16
Karim Benzema's late header ensures Real Madrid beat Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon 2-1 to seal place in knockout stages of Champions League
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema (second from left) celebrates a goal with teammates during the Champions League match against Sporting CP at the Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon last night. Pic/AFP
Lisbon: Substitute Karim Benzema headed a late winner as holders Real Madrid secured their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League with a 2-1 victory over 10-man Sporting Lisbon at Estadio Jose Alvalade.
A draw would have been enough to send the in-form LaLiga leaders through from Group F alongside Borussia Dortmund. It appeared Zinedine Zidane's side would be left with just that after a penalty from Adrien Silva after 81 minutes had cancelled out Raphael Varane's first-half opener, with the home side having seen defender Joao Pereira sent off after appearing to punch Mateo Kovacic.
However, with just three minutes left, Benzema nodded in a weighted cross from Sergio Ramos to secure victory and set up a Madrid showdown with Dortmund for top spot next month.
Los Blancos took the lead after 29 minutes when French defender Varane, who was played onside by a static Porto backline, swept it in from close range.
Sporting were reduced to 10 men in the 64th minute following the dismissal of Pereira.
The Portuguese side equalised when Silva made no mistake from the penalty spot. But it was Real who made sure of all three points after 87 minutes when substitute Benzema nodded in.
No. of times Real have made it to the knockout stages in Europe consecutively
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