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Football
Real sting in the tail for Man City
A late Cristiano Ronaldo goal gives Real Madrid victory over Manchester City after a remarkable five goal second half.
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2012 22:13
Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho celebrates after his team battles back against Manchester City [AFP]

An action-packed second half of Champions League football saw Real Madrid come from behind to defeat Manchester City 3-2 in their group stage match on Tuesday.

The Group D battle between the English and Spanish champions didn't disappoint after a 0-0 half-time score erupted into a spectacular second half that produced five goals. In fact, all five came in the last 22 minutes.

City were just five minutes away from victory when two goals from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo consigned Roberto Mancini's side to a crushing late loss. 

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho reacted to the winner by racing onto the pitch and sliding across the turf on his knees while screaming for joy. 

Champions League Group Stage Results

Tuesday September 18

 AC Milan 0-0 Anderlecht
 Bor. Dortmund 1-0 Ajax
 Din Zagreb 0-2 FC Porto
 Malaga 3-0 Zenit St P'sbg
 Montpellier 1-2 Arsenal
 Olympiakos 1-2 Schalke 04
 Paris SG 4-1 Dynamo Kiev 

 Real Madrid 3-2 Man City


This was Champions League football at its best but it will take City and their manager a while to comprehend how they didn't walk away with any points. 

The loss was particularly hard for heroic goalkeeper Joe Hart who after making a number of great saves could perhaps have done more to keep Ronaldo's bouncy shot out. 

City took the lead after the break when Edin Dzeko scored for the English side but Marcelo equalised only six minutes later.  

Aleksandar Kolorav put City ahead once more when his free-kick flew straight in but with only a few minutes left on the clock Benzema equalised before Ronaldo proved he was still the man for the big occasion. 

In the other Group D game, Robert Lewandowski also scored late to give Borussia Dortmund a winning start to their Champions League campaign with a 1-0 victory over Dutch champion Ajax Amsterdam.

Poland striker Lewandowski turned in the penalty area before hammering a shot beyond goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer with three minutes remaining, rewarding the home side's late dominance of the game.

"There are a few things there that we could have done a lot better,'' said the relieved Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp, who made a rare appearance in a double-breasted suit and tie.

'Difficult'

Arsenal came from behind to win 2-1 in an end-to-end game at Champions League debutants Montpellier, as Arsene Wenger's side made a winning start to their Group B campaign.

Younes Belhanda stunned the visitors with a ninth-minute Panenka penalty but Arsenal hit back through quick-fire goals from Lukas Podolski and Gervinho to secure only their sixth win in their last 16 group-phase away games.

"It was difficult," said Arsenal assistant coach Steve Bould, who took charge of the team due to Wenger's touchline ban. 

"In the first half, I thought we were excellent and kept the crowd really quiet. The second half was tough and we looked a bit tired physically.

"It was hot and humid. The crowd got right behind them and it's quite an intimidating place to play, so we were pleased to get the result."

"It was hot and humid. The crowd got right behind them and it's quite an intimidating place to play, so we were pleased to get the result"

Arsenal assistant coach Steve Bould

Also in Group B, Schalke 04 won 2-1 at Olympiakos Piraeus.

Paris St Germain, back in the Champions League for the first time in eight years and an outside contender for the title after investing heavily in new players, were the biggest scorers on the night, thumping Dynamo Kiev 4-1 in Group A.

PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who converted a first-half penalty, became the first player to score in the Champions League for six different clubs having also netted for Ajax Amsterdam, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan.

Also in Group A, Lucho Gonzales and Steven Defour scored late in each half to give Porto a 2-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb.

Gonzales gave his team the lead with an easy finish into the net in the 41st minute after Dinamo goalkeeper Ivan Kelava deflected a cross from Alex Sandro into his path. It was the 50th Champions League game for the Porto midfielder. 

Defour made the game safe when he added the second goal in injury time after Christian Atsu broke on the left side.

Undefeated in seven 

The final Group in action was Group C which saw Francisco "Isco'' Alarcon score twice in Malaga's 3-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg.

The win gave the Spanish team a dream debut after the exit of several star players during a turbulent offseason.

Malaga led 2-0 by the 13th minute after goals by Isco and Javier Saviola.

Zenit had various chances but failed to finish them off, and Isco struck again in the 76th minute to seal the victory at La Rosaleda stadium.

Malaga were supposed to struggle this season after a financial about-face by their Qatari owners led to the sale of stars Santi Cazorla and Jose Rondon among other players.

Instead, Malaga are undefeated after seven games to be second in the Spanish league and top of Group C in club football's top European competition after AC Milan and Anderlecht drew 0-0 in the other match.

"We played a well-rounded game, myself and the entire team,'' said the 20-year-old Isco, who joined Malaga from Valencia last season as part of an expensive overhaul of their squad.

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