Real through to last 16, Arsenal held

2014-11-04 23:51

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Holders Real Madrid secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with two games to spare as a Karim Benzema strike secured a 1-0 win in their Group B match at home to a toothless Liverpool.

Benzema clipped a Marcelo cross high into the net from close range in the 27th minute to maintain Real’s perfect record in the pool with 12 points from four games.

It was the record 10-times European champions’ 12th win in a row in all competitions and followed their 3-0 success against Liverpool at Anfield last month.

A major surprise was the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo failed to get on the scoresheet and he remains one goal short of the Champions League scoring record of 71 set by former Real and Schalke 04 forward Raul.

Basel are well placed to join Real in the knockout round after they beat Ludogorets 4-0 and have six points, with Liverpool and the Bulgarian champions on three each.

Anderlecht, meanwhile, produced a stunning fightback to prevent Arsenal securing their place in the last 16 of the Champions League, drawing 3-3 after trailing 3-0 in the 58th minute.

Substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic’s last-minute header earned the Belgians a point in a thrilling Group D clash that kept alive their slender hopes of qualifying for the knockout round.

After their smash-and-grab raid in Brussels a fortnight ago when Arsenal scored twice late on for a fortuitous three points, the Gunners were cruising as goals by Mikel Arteta, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put them 3-0 up.

However, Anthony Vanden Borre's double gave Anderlecht hope and Mitrovic completed a remarkable comeback.

Arsenal have seven points, five behind Borussia Dortmund, with Anderlecht on two and Galatasaray on one.

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund shrugged off their dismal domestic form to sweep past Galatasaray 4-1 and cruise into the last 16 of the Champions League with two matches to spare.

Germany international Marco Reus, on the transfer wish-list of several leading European clubs, slotted in the first goal after 39 minutes.

Defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who also hit the woodwork, and Ciro Immobile netted in the second half before Semih Kaya added an own goal with four minutes left as Dortmund made it four wins from four games in Group D.

Galatasaray pulled one back through Hakan Balta’s header in the 70th minute.

In other results, Atletico Madrid’s Koke and Raul Garcia secured a 2-0 victory at Malmo in their Group A clash.

Atletico lead the standings with nine pints from four games followed by Olympiakos Piraeus and Juventus on six points after the Italians beat the visiting Greek side 3-2. Malmo's defeat leaves them bottom with three points.

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