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