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Thursday, 05 August 2021

Holders Real Madrid hammer Basel 5-1, Liverpool claim last-gasp win

Reuters and AP, Tuesday 16 Sep 2014
Real Madrid
Real Madrid's Bale kicks the ball to score past Basel's Samuel during their Champions League soccer match in Madrid (Photo: Reuters)

Holders Real Madrid chased away some of their early-season blues when Gareth Bale scored the pick of the goals in a 5-1 rout of FC Basel in their Champions League Group B opener on Tuesday.

After a deflected Nacho effort put Real 1-0 ahead in the 14th minute, Bale raced on to a Luka Modric pass and dinked the ball brilliantly over onrushing Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik before volleying into an empty net.

A minute later, Bale found space on the right of the penalty area and sent over a low cross for Cristiano Ronaldo, last season's Champions League top scorer with 17 goals, to tap in at the far post.

New Real signing James Rodriguez made it 4-0 in the 37th minute when he started and finished a sweeping counter attack before Derlis Gonzalez almost immediately pulled a goal back for the visitors when he sped clear and beat Iker Casillas with a low strike.

Karim Benzema completed the scoring in the 79th minute when he lashed a left-foot shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar as Real became the first club to score 1,000 goals in European competition.

In the other group game, Steven Gerrard converted a penalty in the third minute of stoppage time to earn Liverpool a 2-1 victory over Ludogorets Razgrad  after a frantic finish to the game at Anfield on Tuesday.

Dani Abalo's goal in the opening seconds of injury time cancelled out Mario Balotelli's 82nd-minute strike and looked like earning a draw for Ludogorets, a Bulgarian minnow making its debut in the competition's group stage.

But goalkeeper Milan Borjan brought down substitute Fabio Borini moments later and Gerrard slotted home the spot kick to complete a successful return to Europe's elite competition for Liverpool after five years out.

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