Champions League - Ozil rescues a point for Real Madrid

Champions League Group D, Santiago Bernabeu – Real Madrid 2 (Pepe 34, Ozil 89) Borussia Dortmund 2 (Reus 28, Arbeloa o.g. 45)

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Champions League - Ozil rescues a point for Real Madrid
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Real Madrid players celebrate with Mesut Ozil (Reuters)

A Mesut Ozil free-kick salvaged a dramatic 2-2 draw for Real Madrid in the final minute of their Champions League Group D clash with Borussia Dortmund at the Bernabeu.

Marco Reus stunned the hosts with a clinical finish in the 28th minute, before Pepe equalised with a powerful header to the relief of Jose Mourinho’s side just after the half-hour mark.

Real slipped behind again due to Alvaro Arbeloa’s own goal on the stroke of the break and did not look like recovering, but Ozil rescued what could prove a vital point for the hosts with an inspired free-kick to prevent what would have been only their second defeat in 14 Champions League games at the Bernabeu.

Mourinho started with Raphael Varane in central defence, while Arbeloa filled in at left-back with Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao out injured; meanwhile, Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl was handed a starting berth, despite suffering a facial injury against Stuttgart at the weekend.

The pace of the match was electric from the outset, and Gonzalo Higuain squandered a glorious opening in just the second minute as Luka Modric - who scored his first goal for Real on Saturday against Real Zaragoza - slid a through ball into his path, but the forward failed to control it with just the goalkeeper, Roman Weidenfeller, to beat.

Iker Casillas, who was making his 126th Champions League appearance, which puts him third on the all-time list, made a fine save to deny Marcel Schmelzer at his near post minutes later, before Robert Lewandowski blasted a wild shot over the crossbar from the rebound.

Real Madrid have kept just one clean sheet in their last nine Champions League games, and Mourinho was clearly concerned about how open the match was. His anxiety was soon justified as Dortmund took the lead in the 28th minute.

Lewandowski won a fine header to direct the ball in behind Arbeloa, and Reus shook off the defender to unleash a volley which Casillas could only get his fingertips to as he failed to tip it wide of the near post. The Real captain perhaps should have done better with the shot, but Dortmund had their deserved lead.

Dortmund have won none of their last six away games in European competition, however, and Real restored parity in the 34th minute as Pepe powered a header beyond Weidenfeller after a courageous challenge from Varane to win the ball back. But the scores did not remain level for long.

Lewandowski won a towering header on the edge of the Real box, before Kevin Grosskreutz showed poise to pick out Mario Goetze, with Arbeloa inadvertently stabbing the ball over Casillas for an own goal to restore the visitors’ lead. It was another clinical break from Juergen Klopp’s side, rewarded with the goal.

Mourinho, who was incensed as he stormed down the tunnel at the break, made a double change as he replaced Modric and Higuain with Michael Essien and Jose Callejon, and within seconds of the restart, the forward looked to have levelled once more as he raced in behind a sleepy Dortmund back four and slid the ball beyond Weidenfeller, only for an extremely late offside flag to abruptly end his celebrations.

Kaka, introduced as a substitute, almost inspired an equaliser as he brought the ball forward incisively and laid the ball off for Ronaldo, who was denied a 16th goal in 13 Champions League matches from close range by a quite brilliant save from Weidenfeller down low to his left. Kaka appealed for a penalty as he was hauled down attempting to latch on to the rebound, but Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir was unimpressed.

What appeared to be the final chance of the match arrived for Angel Di Maria, but his fierce shot from inside the Dortmund box was heroically cleared off the line by Grosskreutz. It appeared to have clinched the victory for the Bundesliga side, but for a special set piece from a German international.

Ozil produced a touch of magic to draw Real level in the final minute of the match with a glorious free-kick from 25 yards out to pick out the corner of the net and salvage what could prove to be a crucial point for Mourinho’s men as they remain a point behind Dortmund after four matches.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Marco Reus – Borussia Dortmund: The midfielder produced a composed finish to put his side in front in the first half, and was instrumental throughout as he inspired dangerous counter-attacks and dictated the play.

PLAYER RATINGS

REAL MADRID: Casillas 6, Sergio Ramos 6, Varane 7, Pepe 6, Arbeloa 5, Alonso 7, Modric 6, Di Maria 6, Ozil 7, Ronaldo 6, Higuain 5. Subs: Kaka 7, Essien 7, Callejon 7.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND: Weidenfeller 7, Piszczek 7, Subotic 7, Hummels 7, Schmelzer 7, Gundogan 6, Kehl 6, Reus 8, Gotze 7, Grosskreutz 7, Lewandowski 7. Subs: Bender 6, Leitner 6, Perisic 6.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS

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