Madrid wins wild 3-2 Champions shootout over City

Associated Press Modified: September 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm •  Published: September 18, 2012
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MADRID (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo had the last word in a wild shootout against Manchester City, scoring in the 90th minute Tuesday as Real Madrid came back for a 3-2 victory in a Champions League opener where all five goals came late.

Ronaldo, returning to the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time since saying he felt "sad" at the club, scored with a dipping shot that slipped past goalkeeper Joe Hart as Madrid showed the grit and determination that coach Jose Mourinho had said was missing from the team to start the season.

Ronaldo said the result was just what Madrid needed following a second domestic loss that heaped early season pressure on the players and Mourinho, with all expectations this season geared toward a record 10th Champions League trophy.

"The most important thing was to win and we did that. The team is good, the fans are good and I'm good," said Ronaldo, who refused to address his glum situation at the club. "It was a crazy game."

Ronaldo's winner capped a frantic finale after City had done well to soak up Madrid's pressure in the first half before twice taking the lead in the second.

"It is difficult not because we lost — we can lose against a side like Real Madrid — but because with four minutes to go it was 2-1," City manager Roberto Mancini said. "This is strange. I think we need to improve this situation."

Yaya Toure stole the ball from Pepe to start a 69th-minute break, slipping a pass through to substitute Edin Dzeko to move into the area alone and slot past Iker Casillas.

Madrid equalized eight minutes later as Marcelo made up for two previous misses from the same distance by curling a long shot into the top corner, after the ball deflected off Javi Garcia to sail out of Hart's reach.

With the game continuing at a furious pace, Madrid's weakness on set pieces again proved costly as substitute Aleksandar Kolarov curled a free kick into the area that bounced untouched beyond Casillas inside the far post.

But Madrid came roaring back as substitute Karim Benzema turned to squeeze home an 87th-minute equalizer past Hart, before Ronaldo capped the rally as the hosts shook off the criticism following a poor domestic start to emerge triumphant in the matchup between the champions of Spain and England.

Ronaldo, who refused to celebrate when scoring in his last home game, didn't hesitate to do so this time. He slid toward the corner before being mobbed by his teammates, while Jose Mourinho also seemed to release a weight of emotions as the Madrid coach slid onto the field on his knees with his fists pumping in delight.

Mourinho said he imagined hitting the delete button on all the headlines he was expecting to read in Wednesday's newspapers with the team trailing.



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