Real Madrid 3-2 Manchester City: Ronaldo rocking again as Mancini’s men sink to Bernabeu defeat

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning goal in the 90th minute as Real Madrid secured a 3-2 victory against Manchester City after an incredible second-half at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Edin Dzeko came off the bench to give the visitors the lead after a surging run from midfield from Yaya Toure, but Marcelo quickly replied with a curling shot.

The home supporters were left stunned when Aleksandar Kolarov’s free-kick drifted untouched into the bottom corner of Iker Casillas’ goal but Karim Benzema again pulled Madrid back with a sublime turn and finish.

And Ronaldo ensured that Jose Mourinho’s team put their early season woes behind them with a dipping shot that flew past both Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart.

Both Mourinho and Roberto Mancini and sprung selection surprises, although the latter made the more drastic changes following his team’s poor start to their league campaign. World champion Sergio Ramos was dropped from the Madrid defence, with 19-year-old Raphael Varane stepping in, while City handed a debut to the similarly inexperienced Matija Nastasic, with Joleon Lescott restricted to a place among the substitutes.

Mourinho has been unhappy with Mesut Ozil’s start to the season but opted to replace the German with loan signing Michael Essien, of Chelsea, and not marquee purchase Luka Modric. Javi Garcia scored on his debut on Saturday and played again in midfield for the visitors.

With neither Ozil nor Modric in the starting line-up, Ronaldo roamed into the space left vacant in the centre of the pitch and immediately looked the game’s most threatening player. Hart was tested for the first time when the Portuguese raced on to Higuain’s pass before fooling Kompany with a series of tricks and the England goalkeeper did well to palm the low shot wide.

Ronaldo continued to fire at will from the left side of the penalty area and Hart was called into action again when Higuain deflected another powerful shot with his head from close range.

The visitors gradually began to gain more of a foothold but could not get the ball to stick in attack and when they conceded possession, Real Madrid demonstrated their counter-attacking prowess. Higuain could not quite control a superb pass dropped behind the City defence by Angel di Maria and Sami Khedira diverted Ronaldo’s follow-up effort over the crossbar.

Two adventurous midfield runs by Toure began with promise but ended without troubling Casillas and Higuain went close again when he latched on to Di Maria’s cross to the back post before the half was out.

It is difficult to imagine that in this, of all games, attacking quality would be in short supply but while both teams ventured into dangerous territory early in the second half, the finishing touches needed to open the scoring continued to elude them.

Mancini had already introduced Kolarov from the bench when Samir Nasri suffered a hamstring injury in the first half and with both benches littered with attacking talent, more changes seemed inevitable. Dzeko was next to take the field, replacing David Silva, and the Bosnian would provide the cutting edge that had been missing.

Toure, who had looked City’s biggest threat all night long, broke out of the midfield again to create a two-on-one attack and this time successfully found his target with a simple through ball. Dzeko took the pass in his stride and beat Casillas with a composed, low left-footed finish.

Ozil had already been thrown into the fray and Modric and Benzema were quickly introduced as Mourinho sought to salvage something from the match, but Toure almost doubled the lead when released by Carlos Tevez, shooting narrowly wide.

The Spanish champions immediately looked more dangerous in the final third following the changes, though, and Marcelo curled a right-footed shot into the top corner after shaking off Kompany just outside the penalty area.

Set-pieces have troubled Madrid all season and after Pablo Zabaleta had failed to get contact on Carlos Tevez’s low cross, Kolarov delivered a free-kick that found its way into the back of the net after flying without interference past defenders and attackers alike.

Incredibly, though, there was more to come, and Mancini’s celebrations on the sideline were short-lived. Benzema was next to strike after a mazy run from Di Maria, turning on the edge of the box and firing a powerful, low shot into the bottom corner.

And City’s hearts were broken when Ronaldo stepped inside Zabaleta – who had relieved Maicon of his duties of marking the Portugal star – and released a dipping shot that beat the partially obscured Hart after Kompany had put himself in the way of the ball but failed to head clear.

Koeman: Drenthe wanted Feyenoord return

Feyenood manager Ronald Koeman has revealed that he was approached by Royston Drenthe in the summer about a possible return to the club where the player first made his name.

The midfielder attempted to contact the Rotterdam club after his Real Madrid contract was not renewed in the close season. However, a move did not work out.

“I phoned Royston to speak to him because he tried to contact us,” Koeman told Voetbal International.

“I explained that we have enough players in the [his] positions and that we wanted to spend little money, and only on a striker.

Drenthe, who spent time on loan at Everton and Hercules following his transfer to the Bernabeu, began his career in the Eredivisie and spent two seasons with Feyenoord between 2005 and 2007.

TEAM NEWS: Aguero starts on the bench for Manchester City as Nastasic makes debut against Real Madrid

Premier League champions Manchester City kick-off their Champions League campaign against Real Madrid, with Sergio Aguero taking a place on the bench as Matija Nastasic makes his debut for the club.

Roberto Mancini’s side stuttered to a 1-1 draw at Stoke in their last league game and the Italian has made three changes from that side, with Nastasic coming in for Joleon Lescott at the heart of the defence being the only difference at the back.

In midfield Javi Garcia retained his place as he is set to start against one of his former clubs, while Gareth Barry makes his first start of the season after a lower abdomen problem, replacing Scott Sinclair.

More to follow…

Real Madrid XI: Casillas,Varane, Pepe, Khedira, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo, Alonso, Essien, Arbeloa, Higuaín, Di María
Subs:

Manchester City starting XI: Hart, Clichy, Kompany, Nastasic, Maicon, Toure Y, Nasri, Barry, Silva, Garcia, Tevez
Subs:

Liverpool new-boy Sahin: Premier League was 'missing part' of my CV

Liverpool midfielder Nuri Sahin says he chose a move to the Premier League as it was the “missing part” of his footballing CV.

Sahin joined the Reds on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid in August after a drawn-out transfer saga, with Arsenal also in the hunt for his signature before eventually pulling out.

And Sahin insists he has made the right choice coming to the Premier League, and in particular, Liverpool.

He told Ntvspor: “I want to play football. I talked about this with Jose Mourinho. The best offer came from Liverpool, and I chose them.

“I am going to learn lots of things here from Steven Gerrard. I have played in the Bundesliga and in La Liga but the Premier League was the missing part.”

His Liverpool side face Manchester United on Sunday in what is set to be one of the most heated matches in recent years, but Sahin feels the Red Devils will struggle to get out of their Champions League group.

Before then, United open their Champions League campaign against Turkish giants Galatasaray on Wednesday evening, and Sahin is backing his countrymen to cause a shock.

The 24-year-old said: “Galatasaray have a strong squad. They will finish at the top of the group.”

Sahin also revealed how Real Madrid playmaker Kaka could be leaving the club in January and confessed that the Brazilian has an offer on the table from a Turkish club.

“Kaka has an offer from Turkey,” he revealed. “I know what he is going to choose in January, but I cannot say what it is.”

Real Madrid players responsible for slump in form, says Toshack

Former Real Madrid boss John Toshack has claimed that Los Blancos’ players are partly to blame for the side’s current malaise in form.

The capital club are in the middle of a dire run of results – having won only one of their first four league games and a one-nil defeat at Sevilla on Saturday has done little to lift the mood around the Santiago Bernabeu.

But despite coach Jose Mourinho saying he is the one responsible for slump, ex-boss Toshack believes the players have to shoulder some of the blame.

“It is clear that the players are partly responsible,” he told Esports Cope. “Sometimes a coach does not get the performance he wants, so it is fair that they share the blame.

“Mourinho’s pride will be hurt terribly. It is a horrible start for the team, and as long as this continues, the pressure will keep on coming. And even more so if things don’t go well against Manchester City.

“It is going to be a difficult fight for the league. They will have to win the next game at Camp Nou [against Barcelona]”.

Real Madrid travel to Catalunya on November 6.