Tag: Karim Benzema

La Liga: Cordoba 2-1 Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off for lashing out at Edimar as Real Madrid beat Cordoba 2-1 thanks to a dramatic late Gareth Bale penalty.

Cordoba took an early lead when Bebe fired a shot from distance against the arms of Sergio Ramos, and the referee awarded a penalty. Nabil Ghilas calmly converted from the spot.

Real struggled to create many chances in response, but Karim Benzema equalised after stabbing home Gareth Bale’s flick-on from a James Rodriguez corner.

In the second half, Cordoba continued to play brightly, despite gradually dropping deeper, and they almost took the lead against when Florin Andone lifted a volley over the head of Iker Casillas, only to see his effort bounce off the crossbar.

Real Madrid went close when Juan Carlos saved Benzema’s shot from the left, but minutes later Cristiano Ronaldo saw red for kicking out at Edimar after the two tussled for a cross, and also became involved with Jose Angel Crespo.

Minutes later, Bale won a penalty when Federico Cartabia was given a second yellow after he handballed his free kick. He fired his shot down the middle to win the game with minutes to spare.

Read more at Yahoo Sport

Champions League: Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

A much-changed Liverpool fought hard but came up short against Real Madrid as Karim Benzema scored the only goal in their Champions League match.

The Frenchman turned in Marcelo’s low cross after Simon Mignolet had done well to keep out efforts from Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez.

Liverpool threatened briefly after the break as Adam Lallana fired just wide.

But Real remained in control and Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling’s arrival off the bench could not turn the tide.

Despite the slimmer margin of victory, the game petered out in a similarly low-key style to when Real enjoyed a 3-0 win in the reverse fixture at Anfield a fortnight ago.

In possibly the biggest gamble of his managerial career, Brendan Rodgers made seven changes to the starting XI that lost to Newcastle at the weekend, with Mario Balotelli and Jordan Henderson joining Gerrard and Sterling on the bench.

Instead, Kolo Toure, who has seen less than a minute of Premier League action this season, started in defence, behind a midfield trio of Emre Can, Lucas and Joe Allen, with the willing Fabio Borini in attack.

Liverpool’s line-up seemed to suggest damage limitation, rather than a revenge mission, at the Bernabeu.

If minimising their losses was Rodgers’s aim, he succeeded, but some will struggle to understand his approach to such a big game.

The result, and team selection, will be thrown into even starker light should Liverpool fail to get a result at home to Chelsea on Saturday, when some of their rested first-choice players are likely to return.

And promising performances from several of Rodgers’s second string will not alter the maths of Group B, in which Liverpool find themselves three points behind second-placed Basel with two games to play.

Their line-up may have seemed more in keeping with the Capital One Cup than the Champions League, but the changes initially appeared to unsettle in-form Real.

Liverpool made a similarly promising start at Anfield, though, and Mignolet was still required to make sharp stops from Rodriguez and Ronaldo.

Read more on BBC Sport

Champions League: Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid

Liverpool were given a painful lesson in how far the Champions League has moved on in their absence as they were completely outclassed by holders Real Madrid at Anfield.

Television screens inside Anfield’s lounges relived Liverpool’s 4-0 win against Real in the last 16 in 2009 in an attempt to set the mood before kick-off – but there was never any hope of a repeat.

Cristiano Ronaldo led Real’s charge with a superb opener after 23 minutes and Karim Benzema added two before the interval to leave the hosts facing a desperate exercise in damage limitation.

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Rodgers bemoans ‘sloppy’ Liverpool

It was the first time Liverpool had been three down at half-time at Anfield in their long and glorious European history – a fact no doubt noted by Real coach Carlo Ancelotti, who was in charge of AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005 when the Reds claimed the Champions League after facing a similar heavy deficit at the interval.

Here, in contrast, the Italian was able to enjoy a comfortable second half as Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’s brave pre-match words about not being underdogs were put into context.

With just three points from their opening three games, Liverpool’s ambitions of reaching the knockout stage of a competition they cherish so much are in real peril.

And the performance of Mario Balotelli meant it was another night that left question marks over Liverpool’s decision to pay £16m for a striker who simply does not deliver when it matters.

Read more on BBC Sport