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Spanish teams take valuable Champions League draws

Spain,Sports, Thu, 22 Nov 2012 IANS

Madrid, Nov 22 (IANS) Real Madrid drew 1?1 away to Manchester City to assure their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Karim Benzema scored a 10th minute goal after the Manchester City defence failed to defend an Angel de Maria cross allowing him a free shot at the far post, reports Xinhua.

Madrid controlled the entire first half but failed to convert their chances and after introducing Javi Garcia at the start of the second half the English side took control of the game.

They were rewarded for their efforts 12 minutes from time after Alvaro Arbeloa was harshly adjudged to have brought down Kun Aguero in the penalty area. The referee gave Manchester City a penalty and sent off Arbeloa for a second booking.

Aguero scored the penalty but it was not enough for City, who failed for the second consecutive year to reach the knockout stage of the competition.

Malaga may have travelled to play Zenit St. Petersburg with their place in the last 16 already assured but Manuel Pellegrini's side, which contained several substitutes and were without Joaquin Sanchez and Javier Saviola as well as Martin Demichelis, were quick out of the blocks.

Diego Buonanotte opened the scoring after just seven minutes and a minute later Seba Fernandez had doubled Malaga's lead. Buonanotte scored after a counter?attack while Fernandez took advantage of a defensive error.

The Spaniards then relaxed in the second?half and Zenit pulled a goal back four minutes into the second half through Danny Alves Gomez before substitute Victor Fayzulin levelled the scores in the closing minutes of the match.

The draw means that Malaga have assured they will finish as winners of their group and will hope that gives them a theoretically easier draw in the next round.

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