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Real held by Hugo Lloris masterclass in Madrid

The sides meet again with top spot in Group H on the line at Wembley on 1 November.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, second right, looses an opportunity to score against Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, second right, looses an opportunity to score against Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

A PAIR OF stunning second-half saves from Hugo Lloris salvaged a precious point for Tottenham Hotspur as they held European champions Real Madrid 1-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

Both sides remain unbeaten in this season’s Champions League and well placed to progress to the last 16. They each have seven points after Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty cancelled out Raphael Varane’s own goal in the first period.

The sides meet again with top spot in Group H on the line at Wembley on November 1.

Borussia Dortmund’s 1-1 draw at APOEL Nicosia means the Germans and Cypriots remain six points adrift of the group leaders.

An entertaining encounter got off to a flying start as 18-year-old Achraf Hakimi — on his Champions League debut for Real — teed up Ronaldo to head off the post and Karim Benzema pulled the rebound wide with the goal gaping.

After a nervous opening 10 minutes, though, Tottenham settled with Harry Kane predictably a constant threat up front.

The English international’s sensational form saw him labelled a “complete player” by Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane on the eve of the game, fuelling speculation he could follow Luka Modric and Gareth Bale’s lead in making a move to Madrid in the future.

Kane’s downward header was turned over by Keylor Navas before he broke free down the left and, from his cross, Fernando Llorente appeared to be chopped down by Casemiro inside the area, but Polish referee Szymon Marciniak was unmoved.

Despite failing to get the final touch, Kane was involved once more when Spurs went in front on 28 minutes as Varane turned Serge Aurier’s cross into his own net under pressure from the striker.

Aurier himself then had a long-range effort turned behind by Navas.

And Madrid’s frustrations shone through when Ronaldo was booked for a petulant slap on Jan Vertonghen.

However, Real demonstrated why they have won this competition for the past two seasons by restoring order and parity before the break.

A flowing team move put Toni Kroos clean through and when he was upended by Aurier, Ronaldo stepped up to bury the resulting penalty.

Spurs were then bailed out by two outstanding saves from Lloris after the restart.

The French captain’s outstretched leg diverted Benzema’s powerful header from point-blank range to safety, much to his former international team-mate’s dismay.

And Ronaldo then couldn’t believe his eyes as Lloris leapt to turn over his rising drive which was headed for the top corner.

A hugely entertaining game continued to swing from end to end and it was the visitors who had the better chances to take all three points in the final 20 minutes.

Kane had the best opportunity when he was picked out by Llorente’s fine pass, but Navas spread himself well to divert the ball behind.

And the Costa Rican had to be alert again moments later to prevent Christian Eriksen’s drive sneaking in at the near post.

– © AFP 2017

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