Real Madrid held to a draw by Legia Warsaw in six goal thriller

WARSAW: Real Madrid blew a two-goal lead and the chance to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Legia Warsaw behind closed doors in the Polish capital.


Gareth Bale fired home Madrid s fastest ever Champions League goal after just 55 seconds before teeing up Karim Benzema for Real s second.

However, Legia launched a stunning fightback as goals from Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, Miroslav Radovic and Thibault Moulin put the Polish champions on the verge of a famous victory.

Mateo Kovacic salvaged some pride and a now 27-game unbeaten run for the European champions when he slotted home five minutes from time.

A draw means Madrid now trail Borussia Dortmund by two points at the top of Group F with two games to play.

Dortmund qualified for the last 16 with a 1-0 win over Sporting Lisbon in the other game in the group.

In front of an empty stadium due to Legia s sanction for violence and racist chanting in their 6-0 thrashing by Dortmund in September, Bale celebrated his new bumper six-year Madrid deal in style by rifling a volley into the top corner.

A comfortable night looked in store for the visitors when a brilliant team move saw Kovacic feed Bale on the right side of the area and his cut-back was deposited into the bottom corner by Benzema.

However, Legia hit back with a stunning effort of their own as Odjidja-Ofoe finished off a fine individual effort by firing into the top corner.

Madrid have now not kept a clean sheet in 10 games and coach Zinedine Zidane s decision to play an ultra offensive 4-2-4 formation backfired after the break as their lack of numbers in defence was exposed.

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas was also to blame when he let Radovic s low effort slip under him for the equaliser just before the hour mark.

Real awoke from their slumber as Arkadiusz Malarz parried another fierce Bale volley before an off-colour Cristiano Ronaldo headed a great chance just wide.

Yet, Madrid were caught out on the counter-attack seven minutes from time when Moulin looked to have sealed the most unlikeliest of comebacks when his curling effort clipped the post on its way past a helpless Navas.

Real responded immediately as Kovacic drilled Dani Carvajal s backheel into the bottom corner.

And Madrid could even have salvaged all three points deep into stoppage time when substitute Lucas Vazquez smashed the crossbar.