Sporting Lisbon 1-2 Real Madrid: full-time summary
Karim Benzema's winner ensured Real Madrid remain in the hunt for first place in Champions League Group F as Los Blancos beat Sporting Lisbon 2-1 on Tuesday.
It was a far from comfortable evening at the Estadio José Alvalade for Zinedine Zidane's men, who needed just a point to seal qualification for the knockout stages.
Top spot comes down to clash with Dortmund
With Borussia Dortmund defeating Legia Warsaw 8-4, however, Benzema's 86th-minute header proved crucial as it means Madrid can still overhaul the group leaders when they visit the Santiago Bernabéu on 7 December.
Bale and Marcelo pick up injuries
On an evening that saw Sporting academy graduate Cristiano Ronaldo given a hero's welcome back at his first club, injuries to Gareth Bale and Marcelo were the chief black spots on an unconvincing victory.
Varane puts Real in front
Although more than one clear first-half opportunity fell to Sporting, the away side went into the break 1-0 up thanks to Raphael Varane's opener after 28 minutes.
Luka Modric delivered a free-kick from the right and, when Cristiano's attempted shot broke to Varane, the defender swept the loose ball in from close range.
Silva equalises from spot after farcical handball
But despite having right-back Joao Pereira sent off on the hour for clashing with Mateo Kovacic, Sporting's search for a leveller bore fruit when Fabio Coentrao gifted them a comical penalty with time running out.
Coentrao, brought on for Marcelo after 70 minutes, appeared to be appealing for a handball by Sporting substitute Joel Campbell when the ball hit his raised arm in the box, and home captain Adrien Silva made no mistake from 12 yards.
Benzema wins it for Los Merengues
However, second-half sub Benzema kept Real in contention to top their group six minutes later when he glanced skipper Sergio Ramos' cross past the despairing dive of goalkeeper Rui Patricio and into the corner.
Here's how it happened:
Sporting Lisbon 1-2 Real Madrid: full time
Peeeeeep! That's full time! Real Madrid are through to the last 16!
Min 94 | Dortmund are now 8-4 up, which is a bit of Champions League history - that beats Monaco 8-3 Deportivo as the game with the most total goals ever in the competition.
Min 92 | André goes into the book for an overzealous lunge on Vázquez. Campbell was also booked a few moment ago, I neglected to mention.
Min 90 | Five minutes of time added on.
Min 89 | So it'll be all down to Real's final matchday clash with Dortmund (who are now 7-4 up on Legia) for first place - if it stays this way in Lisbon. They meet at the Bernabéu on 7 December.
Min 87 | Gooooooal to Real Madrid! Ramos ventures foward into a crossing position in the right-hand channel, looks up and swings in a lovely ball on to the head of Benzema, who glances it firmly down into the corner!
Min 86 | Gelson crosses to the far post, Campbell leaps...but it's off target!
Min 85 | Well, well, well, that's a real chance for Vázquez. Real win a corner, which is sent over by Modric and skims the tops of everyone's heads, falling to young Lucas waiting at the back post. He takes a touch, fires the bouncing ball on goal...but it's wide of the near post.
Min 82 | Madrid are rocking. Schelotto fizzes over a cross from the right into the 'corridor of uncertainty, which eventually comes to Campbell out on the left, the winger cutting back in and firing a shot on goal that Navas gathers.
Min 81 | Oh dear Fabio. Real are still heading through as it stands, but they won't be able to top the group.
Min 80 | Goooooal! Silva sends Navas the wrong way from the spot and Sporting equalise!
Min 79 | Penalty to Sporting! Handball given against Coentrao! The left-back was busy waving his arms in the air appealing a hand by Campbell, and it bounced up and hit him!
Min 78 | Real Madrid have revealed that Bale his a heavy knock on his ankle, and is to have tests tomorrow.
Min 77 | Bas Dost comes off for André Felipe - that's Sporting's final change.
Min 76 | Sporting win a corner, which is comes to Campbell on the edge of the box, the Costa Rican picking out Schelotto at the far post to volley it back across goal...but it's too long. It isn't particularly apparent that Madrid are playing with a man more than their hosts, to be honest.
Min 73 | Oooh, there's a good shooting chance for Carvalho as the ball breaks loose to him in space outside the box...but he's leaning back and fires his left-foot shot well over.
Min 71 | Vázquez creates a yard of space to shoot from the edge of the box, but it's blocked by Coates, before Carvajal crosses for Cristiano but Sporting deal with it. Marcelo then comes off for Fabio Coentrao as Zinedine Zidane makes his third and final sub.
Min 67 | Substitutions for both teams, with Sporting taking off Bryan Ruiz for Ezequiel Schelotto and Real introducing Karim Benzema for Isco. I've just seen another replay of Pereira's red card, and I can't make out exactly what he did. He appears to sort of shove Kovacic.
Min 64 | Asensio brings down Campbell on the right flank, before there's a red card for Joao Pereira after clashing with Kovacic! I need to see another replay to know exactly why he's gone off. Sporting still have a free-kick, meanwhile, which is delivered straight into the arms of Navas.
Min 62 | Jorge Jesús makes his first change, bringing on-loan Arsenal man Joel Campbell for Bruno César.
Min 59 | Isco slips it into Marcelo advancing dangerously into the Sporting box, and his cut-back is blocked for a corner to Real, who promptly win a second, which is cleared. Over in Dortmund, just the two second-half goals so far: 6-3.
Min 58 | Ruiz is booked after yanking back Kovacic as the Croat broke forward out of the Real half, before Marco Asensio is brought on for Bale, who can't continue.
Min 56 | Bale is back on, limping very heavily. Real have not enjoyed this opening ten minutes of the second half.
Min 54 | Bale is now getting treatment for what appears to be an ankle problem caused by a clash with Coates. At least it's not a soleus strain...
Min 53 | Zeegelaar pops over a left-wing cross that is just nicked off Ruiz's head, before the Costa Rican is then penalised for dangerous play as he attempts an overhead kick.
Min 50 | Madrid are calling for handball in the box from Coates, before Sporting burst up the other end and Carvalho finds Martins in yards on the right-side of the box. The winger's first touch takes him a little wider than he'd have wanted, though, and he fires it across goal to no final effect.
Min 48 | Having looked in a bit of a state, Marcelo is now back on and appears to be OK.
Min 46 | Drama in the first minute of the second period. Marcelo pulls up injured as he looks to deal with a through-ball for Martins, who continues unchallenged into the Real box and fires it across goal, where, thankfully for the visitors, Ramos is there to cut it out. Marcelo is off for treatment, and Fabio Coentrao is warming up.
Peeeep! We are back up and running.
Sporting Lisbon 0-1 Real Madrid: half-time summary
A thoroughly watchable first 45 comes to a close in Lisbon, where Real Madrid lead courtesy of Raphael Varane's 29th-minute goal and as things stand are through to the last 16. They haven't had it all their own way though, particularly when the hosts have broken at pace, and but for a timely Sergio Ramos intervention Bruno César may well have levelled, before also going close with a free-kick shortly after.
Sporting Lisbon 0-1 Real Madrid: first half
Peeeeeeep! That's half time!
Min 44 | Uffff! Ramos loses it to Dost, who feeds Silva in acres of space in the Real area, but Keylor is down low to trap his curled effort towards the far post! But the flag was up, it wouldn't have counted!
Min 42 | Coates bundles Bale over to the left of the Sporting penalty box, and Cristiano stands over the free-kick. He strikes a fierce effort towards Patricio's goal, but Dost gets his head in the way and it's out for a corner, which Modric swings in for Ramos to nod off target.
Min 40 | Sporting a screaming for a penalty as Gelson skips past Marcelo right on the corner of the box and is brought down by the Brazilian. Willie Collum says it was just outside, and replays seem to bear out the Scotsman's opinion. Yellow for Marcelo. Bruno César whips the free-kick towards the near top corner, Navas looks beaten...but it's just wide! That looked like it had sailed in for a moment.
Min 38 | Shame. Bale is released down the left, the ex-Tottenham man looling up and playing it low into the box - only for Coates to cut it out for a corner, which is worked to Marcelo to shoot from just outside the box...but it dribbles wide.
Min 34 | It's now 5-2 to Dortmund. Crivvens.
Min 33 | Sporting have had Real on the back foot in the wake of that opening goal, which was Varane's second in the Champions League this season.
Min 32 | Oh me oh my! Sporting almost equalise right away! Silva cuts it back to César in shooting space in the box, his left-footed shot deflects off Ramos...and is wide!
Min 29 | Gooooal! Real Madrid take the lead! Modric sends the free-kick in to the box, Cristiano swings his boot at it and the loose ball breaks to Raphael Varane, who knocks it in from point-blank range!
Min 28 | Vázquez gives it away sloppily before winning it straight back again for Isco to find Cristiano's forward run on the right. He bamboozles Semedo and wins a free-kick on the right...
Min 25 | Legia have pulled one back at Signal Iduna Park, where it's now 3-2 to Dortmund. Blimey. In Lisbon, the game has hit just a bit of a lull after a lively opening 20 minutes or so.
Min 19 | Madrid win a free-kick on the left. It's an ideal chance for Modric to whip it into the box, but the Croat's delivery is disappointing. Over in Dortmund, Borussia have wasted no time in turning it around against Legia: having been a goal down ten minutes or so ago, the Bundesliga side are now 3-1 up.
Min 18 | Ufff! Sporting break up the other end and find Martins, whose low, curling ball to the back stick is only just too long for Dost, having beaten Ramos all ends up. A little less zip on that ball, and it was a tap-in for the Dutchman.
Min 16 | Oooh, that's delicious from Lucas Vázquez. The Galician's backheel sends Bale scampering into the right of the area to ping in a low ball across goal, but a green and white shirt is there to get in the way.
Min 15 | This is Isco's first appearance of the season in the Champions League, by the way.
Min 14 | Cristiano feeds Bale on the right and darts into the box for the Welshman's cross, which he sends in with the outside of his boot, but Sebastian Coates is in position to put it out for a corner, which comes to nothing.
Min 12 | Marcelo ventures forward and sends in a nice little cross for Cristiano, who absolutely shanks his header. It's well wide. But the flag was up anyway.
Min 10 | In Dortmund, Legia have given Real a bit of helping hand by taking the lead on the Germans.
Min 9 | Gareth Bale stretches his legs dangerously down the left, rolling his studs over the ball before almost putting Isco in with an angled through-pass just outside the 18-yard box - it's juuust cut out.
Min 8 | Over in southern Spain, Sevilla have taken the lead on Juventus, Nico Pareja with the goal for Jorge Sampaoli's men.
Min 7 | It's a lively opening from Sporting, as Silva knocks it back to Gelson Martins in time and space to cross from the right...but it's to nobody.
Min 6 | Sporting earn a threatening free-kick on the right-hand corner of the Real area, which Bruno César whips into the mixer - but Raphael Varane is there to block it and the visitors eventually clear.
Min 4 | First shot of the night as Lucas Vázquez feeds Cristiano Ronaldo on the right-hand corner of the box, the Real forward spinning and zipping a low, left-footed effort that's comfortable for Rui Patricio.
Min 3 | Ufff! Adrien Silva is almost in on goal for Sporting! The hosts launch their first attack of substance and the midfielder almost bundles his way in on Keylor Navas, only prevented from doing so by a timely challenge by Sergio Ramos, who he'd momentarily stolen a march on. Bas Dost then plays it back to Silva, but he's offside.
Min 1 | The commentators on Spanish TV like Real Madrid's away kit. Me too.
Peeeeeeeeep! We are underway!
One min to kick-off | Champions League anthem: check. Handshakes: check. Coin-toss: check. Okay then, let's go. Sporting to kick off.
Two mins to kick-off | And out they come! The hosts in green and white, Real in their purple change strip.
Three mins to kick-off | The teams are in the tunnel...
Sporting Lisbon - Real Madrid: confirmed line-ups
Sporting XI: Patricio, Pereira, Coates, Semedo, Zeegelaar, W. Carvalho, Gelson, A. Silva, Ruiz, B. César, Dost
Real Madrid XI: Navas, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Vázquez, Kovacic, Modric, Bale, Isco, Cristiano
Sporting Lisbon - Real Madrid: latest news
20:36 | It looks like Isco has another shot at playing in his best position this evening, then. Perhaps it'll help assuage the (not unjustified) game time-related doubts he reportedly has about renewing his contract at the club...
20:33 | Reports in Italy say Inter Milan have sent a representative tonight to run the rule over Sporting's Gelson Martins and Real's James Rodríguez, who is on the away side's bench and currently tumbling down the Bernabéu pecking order.
20:25 | As the players warm up at the Jose Alvalade, the video screens are showing top moments from throughout Cristiano Ronaldo's career. Meanwhile, the man himself has been speaking to Real Madrid's in-house media of his happiness at returning to his first club - the short interview is certainly worth a shufties.
20:20 | On the subject of Real Madrid's away form in the Champions League (see 20:11): for the sake of balance, it's also worth pointing out that the European champions are unbeaten away from home in the group stages for four years, going back to October 2012.
20:16 | The teams are out for their pre-match warm-up (which at this level never seems to consist of everyone standing around taking shots at goal, disappointingly). As expected, there was a hero's welcome for Mr. Ronaldo.
20:11 | ...And Madrid's recent away form in the Champions League is distinctly patchy: they've not triumphed on the road in Europe's premier club competition since a 2-0 win at Roma in last season's last 16, way back in February. Since then, they've registered three draws (at Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Legia Warsaw) and one defeat (at the hands of VfL Wolfsburg).
20:09 | Real may only need a point to qualify tonight, but - unless Legia can spring a surprise at Dortmund - Zidane's men need a win to keep their hopes of topping Group F intact (although there's some debate over whether it'll actually matter which position they go through in)...
20:06 | 40 minutes to kick-off in Portugal - why not have a cheeky perusal of this interview with the man who handed Cristiano Ronaldo his Sporting debut?
20:01 | Sporting boss Jorge Jesús gives his pack a jolly thorough shuffling from Friday's 5-1 cup win over Praeinse: I make it no fewer than nine changes.
19:54 | So, Benzema is on the Real Madrid bench alongside, Casilla, Nacho, James, Coentrao, Asensio and Danilo. Ramos makes his first appearance for Real since way back in late September, when Los Blancos drew away to Borussia Dortmund.
19:50 | As we wait for Jorge Jesús to reveal his line-up to the baying masses, it's worth noting that the hosts may have the slight edge in terms of freshness, having played their weekend Portuguese Cup clash on Friday evening, 24 hours before Real's derby win.
19:48 | Zinedine Zidane has named his XI to play Sporting (see above). Just the one change to the side that beat Atlético, as captain Sergio Ramos returns to fitness and comes in for Nacho Fernández at the heart of the defence. It looks like we'll see a reprisal of the (from right to left) Vázquez-Modric-Kovacic-Bale midfield, with Isco tucked in behind Ronnie (or Modric and Kovacic behind a Vázquez,Isco and Bale, depending on which way you look at it). No word from Sporting yet, the rotters.
19:30 | We'll be bringing you all the team news as it comes in over the next half hour or so. For the hosts, only forward Lukas Spalvis is out injured. As for the visitors, the chief question marks surround the return of Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema to the line-up, and whether Zidane will maintain Saturday's 4-4-2/4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1/'Disco Isco Formation'. If Benzema comes back into the XI - which, one imagines, would be at the expense of the always excellent Lucas Vázquez - then the smart money would be on a good ol' 4-3-3 with the 'BBC' up top.
19:25 | One man to watch in green and white tonight is young Portugal international Gelson Martins, who's thought to be interesting this evening's visitors - and a whole host of other cheque-book wielders. He is fit and in line to play tonight despite a little prang-ette at the wheel of his snazzy sports car the other day.
19:19 | Real Madrid visited Sporting in the Champions League in the 2000/01 season and were held to a 2-2 draw, while Los Merengues also failed to come away victorious from Lisbon in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup, going down 2-1 (though they did win that first-round tie on away goals).
19:13 | 'CR7' goes into this evening's Sporting reunion just two shy of becoming the first player to chalk up 100 goals in European competition. So far, the man from Madeira has 95 in the Champions League proper, one in Champions League qualifying and two in the UEFA Super Cup.
19:07 | If Cristiano continues his fine scoring record against his former club, one suspects he won't be pulling out all the stops with his celebrations as he did on Saturday...
18:56 | A year ago yesterday, Real were getting humped 4-0 at home by arch rivals Barcelona, of course. 12 months on, and fresh from moving four points clear at the top of LaLiga after their comprehensive weekend win at Atlético Madrid, Los Blancos are somewhat happier campers, it's fair to say. It's an anniversary that was touched on in Zidane's pre-match press conference.
18:36 | With just under two hours to go until Willie Collum delivers a short, sharp peep on his shiny whistle, here's another reminder of how and where to watch.
18:26 | Cristiano returns to the Jose Alvalade to face Sporting for the second time in a competitive fixture, having also gone back with Manchester United in the Champions League in September 2007. That night he got the only goal, and in three games in total against his first club - all in Europe's elite competition - he has always found the net.
17:51 | Keep your eye out for Sporting CP's tribute to their prodigal son tonight also.
17:03 | And just in case you find yourself at a loose end before the game tonight, check out the snaps of Ronaldo's hotel in Lisbon.
16:09 | There are no fewer than eight Real Madrid players nominated for UEFA's team of the year. Check them all out here..
15:06 | Here is a round-up of some Real-related news that you might have missed this morning.
14:23 | With much of today's narrative about the prodigal son's return, here's a look back.
13:18 | Now this may come as something of a surprise to you - especially if you've been reading this page - but Madrid are NOT playing Sporting Lisbon today. Here's why (please read the disclaimer).
12:27 | Zidane spoke to the press yesterday and was clear about the situation with the much debated BBC.
11:43 | Did you know that Madrid have never won against a Portuguese club in Lisbon? Now you most certainly do. It's not been a completely depressing venue for Los Blancos though.
11:06 | Scotsman "Willie" Collum will have the whistle tonight to keep his class in order. (He's a teacher, you see)
10:17 | As Madrid were finding their feet in their early games this season, Sporting arrived at the Santiago Bernabéu with no fear...and almost left with some points.
09:34 | If you want some background noise and images to support our live commentary, here's a lovely cut-out-and-keep guide to how and where to watch.
09:12 | Good morning and welcome to our build up and live coverage as the Champions League returns.
Sporting Lisbon - Real Madrid: match preview
The Champions League is back after a short break and with only two games remaining teams that have not yet done so are hoping to clinch qualification with a game to spare. For Sporting this is more of a pipe-dream as they know even a draw tonight would eliminate them from the competition. If that was to happen, Madrid would ensure a place in the knock-out rounds. One thing is for sure, it's going to be a bit of a love-in for one man as the José Alvalade stadium welcomes home their prodigal son.
Jorge Jesús comes into this match knowing that anything but victory will end his team's Champions League participation for another year but also on the back of a convincing 5-1 Portuguese Cup win. Confidence can also be taken from the last meeting between these two sides where a very late Morata goal nicked all three points for Madrid at the Bernabéu.
With the emotive home support Sporting can again be competitive and in Gelson Martins they have a young lad that is capable of shining. Indeed, reports suggest that scouts from around the globe will be in attendance tonight to see the 21-year old against a more challenging opponent than he faces from week to week. Jesús has already compared him to Luis Figo.
Many of the headlines surround Madrid's derby hat-trick hero, Cristiano Ronaldo, as he returns to where it all began for him as a professional footballer and if he scores tonight, don't expect the usual extravagant celebration. Of course we saw three of those at the weekend in the Madrid derby but Zidane will do well not to get carried away with that victory. Tactically the French coach did well, but some suggest the tactics were forced upon him with certain players not being available for selection. Tonight he is likely to go back to the BBC formation which is yet to fully convince this season.
Other decisions to be made include whether to bring back Sergio Ramos at the heart of defence - this will be determined purely by fitness levels - and how to accomodate Isco, who was a star attraction in a supporting front role against Atlético. If Benzema does indeed start in a front three then Isco will be forced to adapt as part of a three behind - ahead of Modric and Kovacic. But after Saturday's result, Zidane may be open to new formations.
Sporting Lisbon - Real Madrid: possible starting line-ups
Sporting Lisbon XI: Rui Patrício; João Pereira, Coates, Ruben Semedo, Zeegelaar; William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, Gelson, Bryan Ruiz, Bruno César; Dost.
Coach: Jorge Jesús
Real Madrid XI: Keylor Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Kovacic, Modric, Isco; Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema.
Coach: Zinedine Zidane
Sporting Lisbon - Real Madrid: live match build up
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