Real Madrid send Man City out in group stage

Last updated 11:08 22/11/2012
Karim Benzema
Getty Images
TOO GOOD: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates scoring the opening goal.

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Real Madrid and AC Milan advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League, while Borussia Dortmund and Schalke also progressed to make it three out of three teams from Germany.

Nine-time champion Madrid held on for a 1-1 draw at Manchester City with 10 men, eliminating the Premier League champions in the process. Also in Group D, Dortmund beat Ajax 4-1 to go through as the top team.

Seven-time winner Milan won 3-1 at Anderlecht and Malaga drew 2-2 at Zenit St Petersburg for both to advance in Group C.

Schalke defeated Olympiakos 1-0 and Arsenal beat Montpellier 2-0 to progress out of Group B.

Paris Saint-German won 2-0 at Dynamo Kiev to go through from Group A with FC Porto, which beat Dinamo Zagreb 3-0.

Bayern Munich is also in the last 16.

The goal of the day belonged to Milan defender Philippe Mexes against Anderlecht.

Receiving a free kick outside the box with his back to goal, Mexes sent a spectacular overhead kick from 20 metres out that dipped over goalkeeper Silvio Proto and into the far corner.

The goal resembled the fourth strike by Zlatan Ibrahimovic against England last week. Ibrahimovic failed to score today, but Ezequiel Lavezzi scored a double as Paris Saint-Germain cruised in Kiev.

Germany forward Lukas Podolski found the net with a spectacular volley in Arsenal's win over Montelliper that also featured Jack Wilshere's first goal in two years. The Gunners advanced from group stage for the 13th straight year.

After a poor first half, Wilshere brought Emirates Stadium to life in the 49th minute by flicking home a deft finish from Giroud's nod-down.

Assured of a top-two finish, Arsenal will go into its last Group B game at Olympiakos a point behind Schalke. Both sides will want to finish top to secure what would likely be an easier last-16 match.

Real Madrid went ahead after 10 minutes when Karim Benzema was left unmarked and in space to score with the goal at his mercy, but City, outplayed in the first half, improved in the second and equalised with a Sergio Aguero penalty after 74 minutes.

Real defender Alvaro Arbeloa was sent off for fouling Aguero and conceding the penalty which the Argentine swept home having missed a golden opportunity to score in the 65th minute when Iker Casillas made a point-blank save.

Former Manchester United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo, playing back in the city for the first time since he left United three years ago, was booed every time he touched the ball, but had the last laugh as City went out.

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Real's only disappointment might be qualifying as runners-up in the group after Borussia Dortmund grabbed top spot with a 4-1 win at Ajax Amsterdam.

"We wanted to fight for first place but it was not to be but the important thing is that we are through," Casillas said in an interview with Spanish TV.

"We missed a few chances to end the match as a contest in the first half but the truth is we were up against a great team.

"It's also true that we felt a bit discriminated against by some of the referee's decisions. But we'll focus on the positive which is that we are through to the next round."

Real ripped City's three-man defence to shreds until coach Roberto Mancini changed his formation to four at the back with Aleksandar Kolarov dropping deeper after half an hour.

With City needing to win, and Real dominating almost from the kickoff, there was a subdued atmosphere in the stadium from the start, and it got even quieter as Real created a series of good early scoring chances.

Ronaldo should have doubled the lead after 15 minutes when he broke free and lobbed Hart but instead saw the ball cleared off the line and when it came back to him he curled it narrowly wide.

Defensive midfielder Sami Khedira also had three opportunities to score and Benzema another one, while City, dominating possession somewhat aimlessly in midfield, never seriously troubled Casillas before the break.

Real's opener came after some suicidal defending by the English champions when Maicon failed to stop Benzema running in on Angel Di Maria's cross.

Benzema broke free into space, stayed onside and had the simplest of chances to fire home unmarked from two metres out.

City improved after the break and were far more aggressive and dynamic but although the introduction of Carlos Tevez after an hour gave them renewed hope, Real never really relinquished the upper hand and held on for a deserved point.

Mancini's men were left ruing another early exit after their Champions League debut appearance last year ended at the same stage.

"We've had a few opportunities in this group where we could have done a lot better," City keeper Hart told Sky Sports television.

"All the games have cost us - we've lost our two away games and not won at home. We led in Amsterdam and we led in Madrid so it's been a bad campaign for us."

- AP and Reuters

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