Real Escape With Slim Win

Real Madrid were forced to a 2-1 win over Viktoria Plzen in Champions League Group G action on Tuesday after they couldn’t keep a clean sheet.

The unpromising victory at the Bernabeu will do little to relieve the concerns of the three-time defending European champions, whose recent dive in form has added pressure to manager Julen Lopetegui who is already in a difficult situation.

Los Blancos had the opportunity to take the lead within five minutes of the opening whistle but Madrid captain Sergio Ramos’ header bounced off the woodwork. The Czech champions almost had their chance to steal a goal in the 11th minute if not for Keylor Nava’s leg save of Milan Petrzela’s shot.

A minute later, Karim Benzema got Madrid on the tally sheet with a header into the bottom-left corner by connecting to a superb cross from Luis Vasquez.

The rest of the first half saw both sides throw away golden opportunities to get on the score sheet. Gareth Bale’s would-be goal in the 33rd minute was disallowed due to an offside call and Petrzela once again let a chance slip through when he sailed a cross from six yards out over the bar in the 44th minute.

Marcelo got Madrid’s second goal in the 55th minute with a sublime chip over goalkeeper Ales Hruska courtesy of a fine through ball from Bale.

When it looked like Madrid was in control of the game, Viktoria replied in the 81st minute when Patrik Hrosovsky followed his touch-and-go with Ales Cermak into the box and fire it past Navas.

The home side played the final five minutes with 10 men when Marcelo left with an apparent ankle injury, having already made their three substitutions.

Real Madrid shares the top of the table alongside AS Roma in the group with their second win and six points. CSKA Moscow, who lost 3-0 to Roma on the same night, fall to third place with three points. While Viktoria Plzen remain at the bottom with one point.