first_imgReal Madrid left it late to secure a 2-2 draw against Borussia Dortmund in pulsating Champions League clash at Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.A display of defensive dilligence and deadly counterattacking seemed set to send the German outfit to their second victory over Jose Mourinho’s men, but a free kick from Mesut Ozil in the minute salvaged a point for the hosts.Marco Reus gave Dortmund the lead in the 28th minute before Pepe levelled the scores six minutes later, but another charge forward on the break saw Alvaro Arbeloa turn into his own net moments before half time.The visitors ramped up their defensive intensity in the second half and seemed set to frustrate the hosts into submission but, with stoppage time looming, Ozil stepped up to bury a set-piece to split the points and keep things tight at the top of Group D.Mourinho made two changes from the 4-0 win over Real Zaragoza. Xabi Alonso returned from suspension to replace Michael Essien, while Raphael Varane came in for Raul Albiol in the home side’s defence.Jurgen Klopp meanwhile opted to name the same XI that laboured to a 0-0 draw with Stuttgart in the Bundesliga, as captain Sebastian Kehl, who was forced off with a facial injury over the weekend, started with a protective face mask. Madrid could have been ahead as early as two minutes into the game, had Gonzalo Higuain taken a better first touch after racing through on goal, instead of allowing Roman Weidenfeller the time to remove the danger.Dortmund’s counter attack was shaping up to be quite a threat for the home side, and Marcel Schmelzer nearly took advantage of a gap in defence, but Iker Casillas was able to make a smart save.Los Blancos found it hard to create much space in the opposition half, as the pressure from the visitors off the ball forced them into a number of mistakes in possession.In a rare successful attack, Higuain managed to spring the BVB offside trap, but his first time cross to Cristiano Ronaldo at the far post was hit with too much purchase for the Portuguese international to steer on target.Then with 28 minutes gone, Madrid were made to feel the true potency of Dortmund on the break. A perfectly placed flicked header from Robert Lewandowski released Reus on the left, and the German Footballer of the Year smashed a fine half-volley past Casillas. However, the goal seemed to finally click Los Blancos into gear. After Dortmund had lost possession in their own half, the ball was worked wide to Ozil, who sent a fantastic cross to the far post, where Pepe charged in over Schmelzer to plant a punishing header into the roof of the net.Madrid were well on top following their equaliser, and it seemed to be only a matter of time before they struck again. A last ditch tackle from Neven Subotic on Ronaldo sparked BVB on the beak, where Varane repeated the feat on the onrushing Ilkay Gundogan.But, with seconds to go until half time, Dortmund carved them apart again. Lewandowski set things in motion with another flicked header, Kevin Grosskreutz took the ball in stride and centred across the face of goal, and Gotze’s finish was deflected past Casillas by Arbeloa.Mourinho brought on Jose Callejon for Higuain at half time, and moments after the restart, it appeared that he had struck gold with the change. The substitute bent a fine finish past Weidenfeller, but the goal was chalked off after he had strayed inches offside.It was a much better start to the second half from the hosts, and Ozil’s cross-shot from the flanks forced Weidenfeller into a quick parry at his near post. Dortmund were able to regroup in defence though, and as the second half wore on, Madrid found it harder to create clear cut chances, despite their dominance in possession.Cracks began to appear in the visitors defence as the match entered its closing stages, but Los Blancos were unable to apply the finishing touch as Dortmund managed to hang on.But with one minute of regulation remaining, just when it looked like there was no way back for Madrid, Ozil waved Ronaldo off a free kick and bent the set piece expertly into the bottom corner past the scrambling Weidenfeller to give the home side the breakthrough right at the end.last_img read more

first_img Lakers on verge of sealing home court advantage, what does it mean in the NBA bubble? Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — He had just finished scoring 61 points in a needed win for his Trail Blazers. But Damian Lillard wasn’t done.He puffed out his chest and shouted toward press row, “Put some (expletive) respect on my name!” Of course, the people actually present for Lillard’s performance probably didn’t need any more telling.The NBA restart has been as colorful and compelling as could have been imagined, and that’s thanks much in part to a riveting race for the Western Conference eighth-place spot against the Lakers in the postseason. By virtue of a 134-131 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, Portland now has a narrow lead on the field.With a win on Thursday, the Trail Blazers can clinch the No. 8 seed, putting them just a play-in win away from the first round. VIDEO: Watch Kyle Kuzma’s game winner and what he said about it VIDEO: LeBron James and Doc Rivers respond to Donald Trump calling NBA kneeling protests “disgraceful” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs are also all still clamoring for a shot: The Suns and Spurs won Tuesday as well, while the Grizzlies fell to Boston to squander their three-game cushion entering the bubble. That trio is just a half-game behind Portland, although San Antonio has a lower winning percentage and needs others to fall.Since blowing two free throws against the Clippers, Lillard has scored 112 points in his last two games. Against the Mavericks, he became just the second man — Wilt Chamberlain is the other — to score 60-plus points in at least three games during a single season.To teammate Carmelo Anthony, nothing signified the divine nature of Portland’s 5-2 run so far like the last of Lillard’s nine 3-pointers, which caromed off the rim and high above the backboard before tumbling back through the net.“I probably said about 20 pleases — like, ‘please, please, please, please’ repeatedly,” Anthony said of the heart-stopping bounce. “It wasn’t meant for us to lose after that shot went in.”Then again, the Trail Blazers face a competing team of destiny: The Phoenix Suns triumphed over the Philadelphia 76ers, 130-117, with a fourth-quarter rally. Devin Booker scored 35 points, and Mikal Bridges scored 24. MORNING WRAP: Everything you need to know about Lakers-Clippers opener; How Angels blew leads and who was the Dodgers’ 13-inning hero? Morning Wrap: Full coverage from Lakers-Clippers thriller; Angels, Dodgers going in different directions; Whicker pays tribute to legendary Mike Gillespie The Suns are the only team that’s undefeated in the bubble, needing all seven wins to keep pace in the breakneck playoff race. They have one more game Thursday against Dallas, and they likely won support on Tuesday as a video of their pregame introductions, read on video by their family members, went viral.Elsewhere on the ESPN campus, frustration has been building in the same chase. At their own home game, a digital screen behind the Grizzlies read: “MEMPHIS VS. ERRRBODY.” That feeling has been a little too real for Memphis in the NBA restart.There was little minimizing it: The Boston Celtics crushed them, 122-107, playing their starters deep into the fourth quarter and burying the Grizzlies with a pair of Kemba Walker threes. Besides the bonus of getting Memphis closer to the draft lottery on a pick the Celtics own, it was a chance for Boston to get a final tune-up before the playoffs begin.For the Grizzlies, the postseason seems as far from their grasp as ever: They’ve lost six of their seven games in the restart, and they’ve lost Jaren Jackson Jr. and Justise Winslow to injury. But Ja Morant, the likely Rookie of the Year who has come to represent all the hopes and dreams of the franchise, had a way of putting their situation in perspective.“I feel like every game we’ve played as the underdog,” he said. “We were projected to be 27th this year, and we here. It’s how we’ve been attacking every game, so I feel like our next game wouldn’t be no different.”Related Articleslast_img read more