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Cristiano Ronaldo turns in best game of season as Real draw vs. Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund twice came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw in the Westfalenstadion that leaves the eventual table-topping of Group F in the balance for now. Cristiano Ronaldo gave the visitors the lead before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levelled for the hosts. Raphael Varane bagged Real’s second but Andre Schurrle scored a sublime equalizer late on to condemn Real to a third consecutive draw in all competitions.

Positives

Real matched Dortmund’s high-energy pressing game and had the better of the second period, restricting the Bundesliga side to a handful of chances after being pushed back into their own half for much of the opening 45 minutes.

Negatives

Once again Zinedine Zidane’s side twice took the lead but much like against Las Palmas at the weekend, twice they were pegged back. Toni Kroos said before the game that this was a chance to find out what sort of shape the team is in against top-class opposition: the answer is that they’re in desperate need of some defensive cohesion in the final straight. Las Palmas made it 2-2 in the 84th minute. Schurrle scored in the 87th.

Manager rating

6 — Zidane selected an attacking side with James Rodriguez given the nod in midfield but they failed to capitalize on Real’s momentum after taking the lead. Mateo Kovacic was already on the touchline when Varane scored and Zidane might have been better served by a more attacking change with Dortmund on the back foot. Calling Alvaro Morata from the bench with three minutes to go was too little, far too late.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Keylor Navas, 8 — Navas was in action immediately, saving spectacularly from Gonzalo Castro’s free kick and denying Aubameyang inside the opening 12 minutes. The keeper’s decision to punch out a scarcely venomous free kick led to the second goal but fine stops to deny Raphael Guerreiro and Emre Mor more than atoned.

DF Dani Carvajal, 6 — A sloppy back pass put Navas under pressure but Carvajal made amends in the second half when he was on hand to deny Andre Schurrle a tap-in.

DF Raphael Varane, 7 — Covered the final line of defence diligently but was spared blushes when Aubameyang was called offside after whacking the bar, with Varane nowhere to be found. He could do little to prevent the rebound for Aubameyang’s goal but was in the right place to hammer home from a yard at the other end.

DF Sergio Ramos, 7 — Ramos was excellent in the first half until a loose pass and inevitable recovering foul led to Dortmund’s equalizer. Went in the book for flattening Aubameyang in the second and was perhaps fortunate to escape further punishment for a spot of handbags towards the end.

DF Danilo, 7 — The Brazilian made a vital interception early on in the area and had a good game, stretching Dortmund on the left flank and providing a counter-measure to Ousmane Dembele’s incisive runs with seven tackles overall. Yet he did lose track of Christian Pulisic in the build-up to Dortmund’s second.

MF Toni Kroos, 8 — Operating in the holding role, Kroos made several important interventions when Dortmund were playing quick, short passes around the area. The German made more tackles than anyone on the pitch and was neat in possession, leaving the creativity to his midfield partner.

MF Luka Modric, 7 — The Croatian started the move for Real’s opening goal with a trademark outside-of-the-boot pass and was a constant menace to Dortmund with his driving runs through midfield.

MF James Rodriguez, 7 — Rodriguez was involved in the build-up to Ronaldo’s goal with a nice inside pass for Bale and did his bit in harrying Dortmund’s midfield. The Colombian faded a little in the second half before his expected substitution.

FW Gareth Bale, 7 — Bale will take the assist for the opening goal with his back-heeled pass, although the deflection was slightly fortunate. Despite Dortmund doubling up at times on his wing, Bale remained a threat throughout and might have got on the scoresheet from a Kroos delivery in the second half.

FW Karim Benzema, 6 — The Frenchman fluffed his lines when put through by Ronaldo’s inviting ball early on and looked a little sluggish. His best touch in the first 45 was a delightful ball for Ronaldo’s offside goal. Popped up at the far post to rattle the woodwork from which his compatriot profited for Real’s second.

FW Cristiano Ronaldo, 8 — Arguably his best performance of the season, Ronaldo continued his impressive scoring form against Bundesliga sides with his 17th in 18 games against German opposition. Turning provider in the second half, the Portuguese’s centre that led to the second was placed on the toe of Benzema’s boot. Zidane can feel vindicated by handing his charge 20 minutes of feet-up time at the weekend.

Substitutes

MF Mateo Kovacic, 6 — Showed good footwork to elude several defenders in a move that almost carved out an opening for Bale in stoppage time and helped to break up a couple of Dortmund attacks.

FW Alvaro Morata, NR — Morata had no time to influence the match in any way and barely touched the ball.

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