MX23RW : Thursday, January 24 09:09:49
Oct 23, 2018 at 8pm UK at ​Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 67,356
Real Madrid
PlzenViktoria Plzen
Benzema (11'), Marcelo (55')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Hrosovsky (79')

Live Commentary: Real Madrid 2-1 Viktoria Plzen - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live Champions League coverage of the Group G clash between Real Madrid and Viktoria Plzen, which finished 2-1.
Live Commentary: Real Madrid 2-1 Plzen - as it happened
© Reuters

Karim Benzema and Marcelo scored the goals as Real Madrid recorded a 2-1 win over Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night.

Los Blancos entered the match having lost four of their last five in all competitions, but a goal in either half proved enough for the European champions to triumph despite the visitors registering late on.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

7.01pmEvening all! Sports Mole's live Champions League coverage continues from the Bernabeu as Real Madrid welcome Viktoria Plzen in Group G. Real Madrid are second in the section having collected three points from their two matches thus far. Julen Lopetegui's side have lost four of their last five matches in all competitions, however, and there is huge pressure on the European champions to return to winning ways tonight. Stay tuned right here and you will not miss a beat at the Bernabeu!

7.04pmTonight will bring the first ever meeting between Real Madrid and Plzen in European competition. That said, Los Blancos faced Czech opposition in the shape of Sparta Prague during the second group stage of the 2001-02 Champions League - winning both matches. Plzen, meanwhile, took on Spanish outfit Villarreal in the Europa League back in 2015, and have also previously locked horns with both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, which will be discussed later.

7.07pmRight, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from the Spanish capital. There were some big decisions for Lopetegui to make tonight...


REAL MADRID (4-3-3): Navas; Lucas, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos, Casemiro; Bale, Benzema, Isco

VIKTORIA PLZEN (4-2-3-1): Hruska; Reznik, Hejda, Hubnik, Limbersky; Hrosovsky, Prochazka; Havel, Cermak, Petrzela; Krmencik

7.13pmKarim Benzema and Gareth Bale both came off the bench in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Levante, and the pair return to the starting XI tonight. Neither Toni Kroos nor Nacho were involved against Levante, but they also return to the starting XI. Keylor Navas also interestingly replaces Thibaut Courtois between the sticks, while Lucas Vazquez starts at right-back ahead of Alvaro Odriozola, with Dani Carvajal still on the sidelines. Isco is also preferred to Marco Asensio in a forward position.

Real Madrid midfielder Isco celebrates scoring during his side's Champions League clash with Roma on September 19, 2018© Reuters

7.16pmAs for Plzen, Radim Reznik and Lukas Hejda both made their comeback from injury in Friday's 2-2 draw with Bohemians 1905 in the league, and the pair start tonight. Jan Kopic has been absent since the end of September with an ankle problem, however, and the midfielder again misses out. Michael Krmencik is Plzen's leading scorer this season with nine goals in all competitions, and the 25-year-old, who has struck twice in the Champions League, will lead the away side's line.

7.19pmSo there we have it. The two teams are in, and we are now just about 40 minutes from kickoff at the Bernabeu. I shall discuss the visitors a little bit later, but let's start with the reigning champions Real Madrid. Many expected Lopetegui to lose his job as head coach following Saturday's shock 2-1 home defeat to Levante. Indeed, there was already huge pressure on the former Spain boss entering the clash with Levante, and yet another loss led to whistles in the Bernabeu.


7.25pmReal Madrid did manage to end their scoring drought on Saturday, but there is no getting away from the fact that they have lost their last three matches in all competitions, and are languishing down in fifth position in La Liga. The European champions opened their 2018-19 Champions League challenge with a 3-0 win over Roma on September 19, but suffered a 1-0 defeat at CSKA Moscow last time out, and as a result, are currently second in the section behind CSKA.

7.28pmThe capital giants have the small matter of a trip to Spanish champions Barcelona in La Liga this weekend, but simply must return to winning ways in this match in order to avoid what would be a full-blown crisis. Indeed, it is already their worst run of results for almost 10 years.

7.32pmSemi-finalists or better in each of the last eight seasons, Real Madrid have won each of the last three editions of the Champions League, and have won 35 of their last 43 Champions League home matches, suffering just two defeats. It would be staggering if Real Madrid failed to make it through this particular section, and a positive performance could be the turning point for Los Blancos, who continue to be strongly linked with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.


7.38pmCzech First League winners for the fifth time last season, this is the first year in their history that Plzen automatically qualified for the group stage of the Champions League, but they do have experience at this level. Indeed, the Czech outfit competed in the group stage of the 2011-12 and 2013-14 Champions League, although they have not yet managed to make the knockout round.

7.42pmPlzen looked set to open their Group G campaign with a win against CSKA Moscow last month, but they were pegged back in the final moments as the pair played out a 2-2 draw. Pavel Vrba's side would have travelled to Roma in their second group match full of confidence following their performance against CSKA, but they suffered a 5-0 defeat to the Italian giants, meaning that the Czech club have lost all but one of their seven away matches in the group stage of the Champions League.

7.45pmPlzen have also lost all three of their away games in Spain without scoring, the last of which was a 1-0 defeat to Villarreal in the group stage of the 2015-16 Europa League. The Czech champions do sit top of their domestic league, however, having won nine and lost two of their 12 fixtures this term. Since the heavy defeat at Roma, they have beaten Teplice and Vyskov in the league and cup, but were held to a 2-2 draw by Bohemians 1905 on Friday night.


7.52pmEven considering Real Madrid's problems, it is a huge ask for Plzen to pick up a result in this match. Vrba's team only lost 2-0 away to Barcelona back in 2011, however, and will be eyeing their biggest ever European win tonight. Kickoff is less than 10 minutes away in Madrid!

7.55pmPREDICTION! Real Madrid 2-0 Viktoria Plzen.

Real Madrid are not exactly in the best of form, but this is a nice game for the European champions as they attempt to return to winning ways. We fancy Lopetegui's side to put three points on the board for the first time in more than one month. Kickoff at the Bernabeu is next.

0 minKICKOFF:  Plzen kick things off at the Bernabeu...

2 min... it must be said that there is a brilliant atmosphere inside the stadium tonight, and the home side will need their supporters to stick with them. It is Real Madrid with the early possession.

4 minReal Madrid are making the early ground here, with a dangerous free kick already causing problems inside the Plzen box. A corner is then delivered into the box, and Prochazka has to clear under his own crossbar. The home side are intent on scoring an early goal here.

4 minCLOSE!  Ramos sends a header just over the Plzen crossbar.

6 minGood pressure from Real Madrid in the last few minutes as they continue to dominate the ball.

6 minGood pressure from Real Madrid in the last few minutes as they continue to dominate the ball.

10 minSAVE!  Wonderful save from Navas to keep out a low strike from Petrzela. The Plzen attacker has a second bite of the cherry, and fires wide of the post. Good work form the visitors!


12 minReal Madrid make the breakthrough as Benzema heads a Lucas cross into the back of the net. Huge moment for the European champions as they make the breakthrough here!

14 minApologies for a lack of updates, we are having some connection problems. The score is still 1-0, however, with Benzema on the scoresheet. The home side are having loads of the ball as they look for a second in front of their supporters, who are a lot happier with life.

16 minPass, pass, pass from the home side as Plzen continue to sink into a deep shape here.

18 minPlzen are just not seeing any of the ball at the moment as Real Madrid continue to move the ball. Benzema's movement has been excellent in the first 18 minutes, while Bale also looks in the mood. This could be a long night for the visitors if a second for Los Blancos arrives.

20 minWe have not seen too much from Plzen's centre-forward in the first 20 minutes, but there is no question that the number 15 is capable of finding the back of the net when given the chance.

22 minMarcelo continues to make ground down the left for Real Madrid. The Brazilian is almost playing as a winger, with Isco drifting into the number 10 position. Lucas is also well forward down the right, which is an indication of just how much of the ball the home side are having here.

24 minHalf-chance for Real Madrid as Lucas again delivers a dangerous cross into the Plzen box, but Bale cannot make contact. The away side then break before Modric brings Havel down.

26 minPlzen have seen more of the ball in the last couple of minutes, and they are starting to win free kicks in Real Madrid's half of the field. At 1-0, Plzen will always be in this football match.

28 minQuite a stop-start game at the moment as late challenges continue to arrive. Plzen would have wanted to disrupt Real Madrid at this stage of the match, and that has indeed been the case.

28 minYELLOW CARD!  Limbersky (Plzen) is booked for a late swipe at Lucas.

31 minLittle under 15 minutes of the first period to play, and Benzema's goal separates the two teams. In truth, not too much has happened since then. Plzen will be pleased with their work in the last 10 minutes or so. It still is not clicking for the home side despite their lead here.

31 minCHANCE!  Huge chance for the visitors as Limbersky breaks into the Real Madrid box, but his effort is just wide of the post! Wonderful opportunity for the away side to level the scores.

32 minSAVE!  Really smart save from Hruska to keep out an effort from Benzema!

32 minYELLOW CARD!  Isco (Real Madrid) is booked for a poor tackle on Petrzela.

33 minDISALLOWED GOAL!  Bale has the ball in the back of the net, but the Welshman was offside.

35 minStill 1-0 Real Madrid, but more is happening at the moment as both teams come close to finding the back of the net. It must be said that this first period has absolutely flown past.

36 minCLOSE!  Isco just misses the goal following a mistake from Plzen!

38 minSAVE!  Lucas again dances past a couple of challenges before delivering, but Reznik is on hand to make the block. From the resulting corner, Hruska keeps out an Isco effort!

41 minLittle under five minutes of the first period remaining, and it has been a really good first half of action in the Spanish capital. Plzen recovered really well from the setback of falling behind.

43 minLucas wants a penalty after being bundled down inside the Plzen box, but the referee is not interested. I have seen them given! Still 1-0 Real Madrid as we approach the break here.

44 min

45 minCHANCE!  Wow! Incredible chance for the away side to level as Hrosovsky is found by Havel inside the Real Madrid box, but he somehow places the ball over the crossbar. Wow!


8.46pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period a close with Real Madrid leading Plzen 1-0 courtesy of a header from Benzema. It has not been a vintage performance from the European champions, but they are half-way there in terms of picking up a big three points.

8.51pmSTATISTICS! Real Madrid had 64% of the ball in the first 45 minutes of action, while they had eight attempts, three of which were on target. Plzen, meanwhile, hit the target with one of their five attempts. Two yellow cards to report - Isco for the home side, and Limbersky for Plzen.

8.56pmBENCH WATCH! Plzen boss Vrba has a number of attacking options on his bench tonight, with the likes of Ekpai, Horava and Pernica all capable of making a difference. Real Madrid, meanwhile, have the likes of Asensio, Mariano and Vinicius Junior in reserve at the Bernabeu.

46 minHALF TIME:  Real Madrid resume the action here...

47 min... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second period develops here.

49 minNot too much to report in the early stages of the second period, but Real Madrid have had a lot of the ball. You get the feeling that the hosts really, really need the cushion of a second here.

51 minModric races clear before feeding Benzema, but the striker cannot return the favour, with Havel on hand to cut it out. Plzen then break forward before being crowded out down the left.

51 minCHANCE!  Huge chance for Plzen as Havel meets a cross from Krmencik, but his effort is wide!

52 minI would be astounded if we had seen the last of the goals here. Real Madrid have just had another half-chance, but Bale's strike was always flying over the Plzen crossbar.

54 minREAL MADRID SUB! Isco is replaced by Valverde for the home side.

55 minIt is Federico Valverde on for his Real Madrid debut. What a moment for him!


57 minMarcelo scores for the second successive match as Real Madrid double their advantage! The Brazilian is found inside the box by Bale, and produces a wonderful chip into the back of the net!

59 minReal Madrid are comfortable now as we head for the final 30 minutes of football. Plzen have certainly had their chances tonight, but have simply been unable to take them.

59 minYELLOW CARD!  Kroos (Real Madrid) is booked for a foul on Havel.

62 minReal Madrid are having loads of the ball at the moment as they pass and probe in the final third of the field. Plzen are in danger of conceding a third as they drop deeper and deeper here.

64 minNot too much to report at the moment, with Real Madrid in control of the ball. Plzen have not been able to fashion a chance since falling 2-0 behind. But there is still plenty of time here.

66 minCLOSE!  Bale heads just over the Plzen crossbar from inside the box.

66 minPLZEN SUB! Horava replaces Prochazka for the visitors.

68 minNavas is quick off his line to stop a Plzen counter-attack, which had looked to cause Real Madrid problems once again. The away side are carrying a threat once again here.

69 minCLOSE!  Bale misses the crossbar with a strike from the edge of the box.

70 minSAVE!  Really good save from Hruska to keep out an attempt from Benzema,

71 minDISALLOWED GOAL!  Benzema has the ball in the back of the Plzen net, but the offside flag is raised.

73 minLittle over 15 minutes of the second period remaining, and Real Madrid continue to move the ball in Plzen's half of the field. I would be surprised if we had seen the last of the goals here.

75 minPLZEN SUB! Havel is replaced by Ekpai for the visitors.

76 minREAL MADRID SUB! Asensio replaces Bale for the home side.

78 minCHANCE!  Lucas misses the target with a header from inside the box!


80 minGame on! Plzen have one back at the Bernabeu as Hrosovsky bends one into the back of the net! Excellent finish, and Plzen are back in this football match!

82 minStill plenty of time for Plzen to find a second here, and the crowd are very nervous indeed.

84 minNot too much to report since the away side's goal, with Real Madrid just keeping the ball.

86 minPossession for Plzen, but not too much is happening as Real Madrid defend their lines. It really would be some story if the visitors came up with a second in the latter stages here.

87 minVIKTORIA PLZEN SUB! Petrzela is replaced by Reznicek for the away side.

88 minREAL MADRID SUB! Mariano replaces Benzema for the home side.

90 minMarcelo is currently down receiving treatment as we head for stoppage time here.

90+1 minWe are into the first of four additional minutes at the end of the match.

90+2 minMarcelo will not finish this match. He is limping off the field.

90+2 minCLOSE!  Krmencik strikes just over the Real Madrid crossbar!

90+4 minTime is running out for Plzen, who have given it a real go tonight. Real Madrid will be very pleased to hear the final whistle when it arrives. Not long now!

90+4 minFULL TIME:  Ramos (Real Madrid) is booked for dissent.


9.51pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Real Madrid edging past Viktoria Plzen to move to the top of the section. Oh how the European champions needed this win. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live commentary once again!

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Julen Lopetegui in charge of Real Madrid on October 6, 2018
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