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MENAFN - The Peninsula - 04/10/2012

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Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after scoring the 4-1 lead during the UEFA Champions League Group D against Ajax, yesterday.
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) AMSTERDAM: Cristiano Ronaldo scored his second hat-trick in four days and Karim Benzema netted a spectacular overhead kick to give Real Madrid a 4-1 win at Ajax Amsterdam in Champions League Group D yesterday.

A dominant Real wasted a host of chances before Ronaldo pounced on a loose ball to score from close range in the 42nd minute and Benzema finished off a swift Real break three minutes into the second half when he smashed home a Kaka centre.

Real's vulnerability at set pieces gave Ajax hope in the 56th minute when Niklas Moisander stole in at the far post at a corner and nodded under Iker Casillas before Ronaldo scored twice in two minutes to kill off the game.

The victory consolidated Real's lead at the top of the group with six points from two matches.

Meanwhile, La Liga team Malaga who are owned by Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani of Qatar, won convincingly against Anderlecht 3-0. Eliseu netted twice in the match and Joaquin score a penalty in their Group C clash.

Arsenal put themselves in pole position to reach the Champions League knockout rounds with a 3-1 home victory in Group B over Olympiakos at the Emirates.

Goals either side of half time from Gervinho and Lukas Podolksi sealed the Gunners' second successive win in the group with Aaron Ramsey scoring the third with the final move of the game.

Gervinho gave Arsenal the lead against the run of play in the 42nd minute with a well-placed shot but Olympiakos reached halftime deservedly all square when striker Kostas Mitroglou headed an equaliser.

Arsenal, who have never lost to Greek opposition at home, started the second half in more lively fashion and Lukas Podolski fired what turned out to be the winner after 56 minutes, his shot piercing a crowd of players.

In Manchester, Mario Balotelli scored with a last-minute penalty to earn Manchester City a Champions League lifeline in a 1-1 home draw with Borussia Dortmund.

The German side took the lead when Marco Reus pounced on a poor cross-field pass from City substitute Jack Rodwell to race clear and finish past City keeper Joe Hart on 61 minutes. Dortmund continued to dominate and were thwarted on several occasions by fantastic saves from Hart but were made to pay in the dying seconds when Sergio Aguero struck the ball against the arm of Neven Subotic.

Referee Pavel Kralovec pointed to the spot and Italian Balotelli calmly stroked the ball low into the net to give the English champions their first point in Group B.

Elsewhere, Colombian James Rodriguez hit a swerving left-footed winner with only five minutes to go to hand Porto a 1-0 victory over Paris St Germain and give the Portuguese champions maximum points in Champions League Group A after two rounds.

Porto bossed PSG from the start, pressed high and controlled most of possession, relegating the Ligue 1 runners-up to occasional counter attacks.

Although Rodriguez's goal came late, there were plenty of chances for both sides. Porto could have gone ahead earlier through busy midfielder Joao Moutinho and Rodriguez, who both missed several chances.

Elsewhere, an own goal by Tomas Hubocan consigned Zenit St Petersburg to a cruel 3-2 defeat against AC Milan.

 






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