Benzema seals Real's last 16 spot

UEFA Champions League

Real Madrid booked their spot in the UEFA Champions League last 16 as group winners after beating Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 on Wednesday evening.

Los Blancos made only change from the narrow win over Sevilla, as Sergio Ramos recovered from his hamstring injury to bolster the side with Nacho dropping to the bench.

Karim Benzema gave the hosts a perfect start with the opener in the ninth minute after guiding Lucas Vazquez's cross into the top corner.

Gladbach should have been level in the 24th minute after Alassane Plea went clear on goal from a through ball by Florian Neuhaus, but he guided his shot wide from the centre of the box.

The German side were punished on the half-hour mark after Benzema doubled the lead for Madrid and grabbed his brace with another header from Rodrygo's inch-perfect cross.

Luka Modric came close to making it 3-0 for the Spanish giants six minutes before the break with a first-time strike that crashed against the woodwork while the Croatian found the back of the net two minutes before half-time with a smashing strike into the top corner but the goal was disallowed for an offside in the build-up.

Benzema had a good chance to get the third goal for Los Blancos and complete his hat-trick four minutes from the break after getting another header on target from Vazquez's cross but shot-stopper Yann Sommer made a great low save.

Toni Kroos thought he had bagged a third goal for Madrid just after the hour-mark with a left-footed strike from outside the box that was heading towards the top corner but Sommer produced a stunning save to keep Gladbach in the game.

Ramos also came very close to getting the third goal for Zinedine Zidane's charges in the 73rd minute with a header from around the penalty spot that was parried towards the far post by Sommer and Benzema latched onto the rebound but his strike came off the crossbar.

The hosts kept on putting Gladbach under pressure and Vazquez was unfortunate not to kill off the match with the third goal for Madrid in the last 12 minutes after his powerful strike rattled the post, with Sommer beaten.

Nevertheless, Los Blancos were comfortable in the closing minutes and held on to claim a 2-0 win that secured top spot in the group while Gladbach also qualified as runners-up despite the defeat.

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