Ronaldo's late strike sinks City

Manchester City's Manager Roberto Mancini stands dejected towards the end of the game against Real Madrid

Manchester City's Manager Roberto Mancini stands dejected towards the end of the game against Real Madrid

First published in National Sport News © by

Cristiano Ronaldo struck late as Real Madrid sank Manchester City 3-2 in an enthralling Champions League Group D opener at the Bernabeu Stadium.

The former Manchester United star beat the brilliant Joe Hart to cap a rousing late fightback just minutes after Karim Benzema had equalised.

Hart, who kept City in the match with a number of outstanding saves, told ITV: "You can't go 2-1 up with five minutes to go and lose the game. Who else can we blame? We can only blame ourselves. We dug deep, got a lead twice and we lost it, so we can only blame ourselves."

Aleksandar Kolarov had put City in sight of a famous victory six minutes from time but after a frantic finish that saw all five goals scored in the final 22 minutes, Real had the final say.

Edin Dzeko first put City ahead against the run of play after 68 minutes but Marcelo produced a quick reply.

Yet while Hart was merely being honest as he was interviewed moments after leaving the field, manager Roberto Mancini felt he should keep such comments to himself.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Mancini said: "Joe Hart should stay as goalie and finish. If anyone should criticise the team, I should criticise the team, not Joe Hart."

He added: "It is difficult not because we lost - we can lose against a side like Real Madrid - but because with four minutes to go it was 2-1.

"In the first half they played better than us but in the second half we played well and scored two goals. When you score two goals here and are 2-1 you should pay more attention."

Captain Vincent Kompany might have been able to block Ronaldo's winning shot but ducked at an inopportune moment. Mancini said: "I saw the goal but I don't know (about this). The mistake was we went too deep, only this."

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