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Real Madrid held at home by group-leaders Dortmund

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Associated Press
11/6/2012 6:36:56 PM
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MADRID, Spain -- Mesut Oezil netted an 89th-minute free kick Tuesday as Real Madrid salvaged a 2-2 draw against an attack-minded Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League's toughest group.

Oezil seemed to surprise goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller by taking the free kick instead of Cristiano Ronaldo, and his left-footed shot snuck in off the near post.

That settled a game in which the visitors attacked continuously in the first half to go into the break with a 2-1 lead, while Madrid then pressed for most of the second half before finally getting the equalizer.

Marco Reus gave Dortmund the lead in the 28th minute at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium with a fierce swerving shot that 'keeper Iker Casillas barely touched.

Defender Pepe headed in an equalizer in the 34th before Mario Goetze hit Reus' assist past Casillas to restore Dortmund's lead, although it counted as an own-goal after Alvaro Arbeloa got the final contact with the ball.

"We made two big defensive errors, not to say three, because they could have scored another against us," Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said.

Dortmund leads Group D on eight points, one more than second-place Madrid. Ajax is next with four points after drawing 2-2 at Manchester City, which has two.

"It's not the result we would have wanted but they were a great team," said Pepe. "Still, the group's all open so we will have to keep on working."

The match began with action at both ends. First, Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain ran into the opposing penalty area to control a pass from Angel di Maria in the second minute. Three minutes later, Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski tested the hosts' defence.

"We knew it was going to be a very tough match, so a draw is a good result, although we came close to deciding the group stage," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said. "In all events, our ideas were very clear and we had good moments down the right flank, controlling Cristiano Ronaldo."

The Bundesliga champions upped the pace with a fast-passing game that led to rapid counterattacks whenever they won the ball in midfield.

Mourinho paired Luka Modric and Xabi Alonso in midfield to try and minimize the Germans' fast incursions, but they found it tough going as Dortmund continually pushed forward.

Casillas was tested twice in five minutes by powerful shots from Kevin Grosskreutz, getting the end of his foot to one in the ninth minute and being forced to punch out another.

Madrid was without Karim Benzema, who was injured in training, while Higuain looked uncomfortable early on. That didn't stop the Argentina striker from crossing to Cristiano Ronaldo, who headed wide in the 22nd minute.

Klopp paced incessantly on the touchline as the first half concluded with end-to-end attacks, the most dangerous being stopped by Madrid defender Raphael Varane after Reus and Gotze had raced into the six-yard box.

Madrid's Jose Callejon had a goal disallowed for offside in the 46th minute and a sharper-looking hosts piled pressure on Weidenfeller's goal, forcing four clearances, the most crucial when he parried another shot by Callejon in the 60th.

Mourinho substituted Arbeloa for Kaka in the 77th minute and this led to a period of pressure, with Grosskreutz having to clear desperately from in front of goal in the 86th.

But Oezil would have the final say.

Pepe (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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