Champions League

Legia and Real share spoils in six-goal thriller

Gareth Bale (Getty Images)
Gareth Bale (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Legia Warsaw stunned Real Madrid in an empty Pepsi Arena as they battled back from two goals down to hold the defending champions to a thrilling 3-3 draw on Wednesday.

Real couldn't have asked for a better start as a deep cross from the left was flicked on by Cristiano Ronaldo for Bale, who arrowed a first-time volley into the top right corner of the net from 22 yards out in the opening minute.

Ronaldo then looked to extend their lead three minutes later, but his strike from outside the area on the right was well wide of goal.

Thibault Moulin had the hosts' first chance of the night on nine minutes, but he too shot wide of the left post from 20 yards out.

The Polish champions then survived an onslaught as Bale saw his 16th-minute free-kick deflected over by the wall, before Raphael Varane was denied by a fine save from Arkadiusz Malarz at point-blank range from the resulting corner.

Malarz pulled off another good save to keep out Karim Benzema three minutes later, while at the other end Jacek Magiera's men were denied a penalty when Radovic was hauled down by Fabio Coentrao inside the box.

The Militarians keeper made another stellar stop to block Bale's near-post header on 25 minutes and the home defence finally managed to clear their lines following a goal-mouth scramble.

The action was coming thick and fast as Guilherme flashed a shot wide of the left post from range two minutes later, before Ronaldo headed over a cross from Dani Carvajal soon afterwards and Bale fizzed a shot narrowly over from 18 yards out on 31 minutes.

But Los Blancos finally scored again on 35 minutes when Bale was played in on the right and he picked out Benzema, who slotted home from 12 yards out.

Ronaldo saw his snapshot saved by Malarz at his near post on 37 minutes, but the hosts went into the break at level pegging after Odjidja found the back of the net on 41 minutes with a sweet strike from the edge of the area that flew into the top left corner.

The chances continued to come after the restart with Real causing most of the problems in front of goal, as Benzema headed over from close range in the 47th minute before Bale chested down a lofted pass from the French striker to drill a shot goalwards that Malarz had to save and Ronaldo hit the side-netting on the follow-up.

Guilherme then went close to restoring parity with a free-kick that missed the far corner by a fraction in the 53rd minute, but Legia did equalise five minutes later when Radovic ran at the defence before finding the bottom right corner of the net with a toe-poke from 19 yards out.

The Spanish giants went in search of their third goal as Bale cut inside from the right and fired a low shot straight at Malarz from 18 yards out, before Benzema saw his shot on the turn deflected narrowly wide of the left post and Ronaldo had his free-kick saved with Bale blazing over on the rebound.

Still Legia refused to lie down and Aleksandar Prijovic forced Keylor Navas into a save with his fierce strike from inside the area on the right in the 81st minute and the substitute teed up Moulin to fire the hosts in front moments later from 19 yards out.

But Real responded immediately as Kovacic picked out the bottom left corner of the goal from just inside the area after being set up by Carvajal's backheel to make it 3-3.

Lucas Vazquez was denied a last-gasp winner for the visitors as he struck the crossbar from a corner in stoppage time.

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