MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid calmed tensions over their dire recent form by earning a 2-1 win at home to Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Tuesday, snapping a run of five games without victory and easing the pressure on coach Julen Lopetegui.
Karim Benzema headed stuttering triple European champions Real ahead early in the first half but they were fortunate not to concede an equaliser before the break as they leaked three glaring chances which the Czechs failed to capitalise on.
Real’s Brazilian left back Marcelo got the second goal with a coolly-taken dinked finish in the 55th minute and they then missed a glut of chances to extend the lead, which was cut by an ice-cool finish from Plzen’s Patrik Hrosovsky in the 78th.
Real held on for a far-from convincing win which takes them joint top of Group G with AS Roma on six points after three games but failed to answer serious questions about their form ahead of Sunday’s ‘Clasico’ away to arch rivals Barcelona.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris)