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Late Benzema header gives Real 2-1 win at 10-man Sporting

Football Soccer - Sporting Portugal v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League group stage Group F - Jose Alvalade stadium, Lisbon, Portugal - 22/11/16 Sporting's Adrien Silva celebrates scoring a penalty. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante
Football Soccer - Sporting Portugal v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League group stage Group F - Jose Alvalade stadium, Lisbon, Portugal - 22/11/16 Sporting's Adrien Silva celebrates scoring a penalty. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

LISBON (Reuters) - Champions League holders Real Madrid secured a last-16 berth for the 20th successive season after an 87th-minute header by substitute Karim Benzema gave them a laboured 2-1 win at 10-man Sporting Lisbon in their Group F clash on Tuesday.

The result left Real second in the group on 11 points from five games, two behind Borussia Dortmund who beat Legia Warsaw 8-4 at home in an extraordinary match. Dortmund need a draw at the Bernabeu on Dec 7 to win the section.

Real stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to 30 games after an indifferent performance in which their top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, needing two goals to reach a 100-goal milestone in European club competition, was largely subdued.

France defender Rafael Varane fired Real ahead in the 29th minute but it took a late glancing header by Benzema to rescue them after Adrien Silva had equalised with a penalty after Joao Pereira's 64th-minute red card.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)


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