Football: Dortmund bow out despite beating Real Madrid 2-0

Dortmund players react after their Champions League quarter-final, second leg match against Real Madrid. -- PHOTO: AFP
Dortmund players react after their Champions League quarter-final, second leg match against Real Madrid. -- PHOTO: AFP

DORTMUND (AFP) - Borussia Dortmund exited the Champions League with their heads held high on Tuesday, beating Real Madrid 2-0 in their quarter-final second leg but losing the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

Having been beaten 3-0 in last Wednesday's first leg in Madrid, Dortmund ultimately gave themselves too much to do, but their coach Jurgen Klopp delivered on his pre-match promise that his side would bow out with an improved performance.

Cristiano Ronaldo was only on the Madrid bench because of a niggling knee injury so Angel Di Maria stepped up into the visitors' attack and the Argentine had an early penalty saved before Dortmund's Marco Reus breathed life into Borussia's semi-final dreams with two goals in an electric opening 45 minutes.

Home fans had been praying for something like a repeat of last season's 4-1 victory over Real at the Westfalenstadion in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final, a tie the Budnesliga club went on to win.

Twelve months ago it was Robert Lewandowski who terrorised Real with all four goals, but on this occasion it was Reus who ran Madrid ragged.

Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller kept Borussia's hopes alive when he pushed Di Maria's penalty attempt away with 17 minutes gone after a dubious handball decision against Lukasz Piszczek.

At the other end, Henrikh Mkhitaryan fired wide with the goal at his mercy after good work from Lewandowski and Reus on the left wing.

But Reus was not to be denied when he pounced on Pepe's mistimed header back to his own goalkeeper, rounded Iker Casillas and slotted into the empty net on 24 minutes.

Casillas then palmed the ball over the bar after Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels powered in a header from Reus' free-kick with half an hour gone as the hosts piled on the pressure.

Reus grabbed his second after more sloppy defending when he snapped up Asier Illarramendi's poor back-pass and fed Lewandowski, and when the Poland star hit the post, Reus tapped home the rebound on 37 minutes to make it 2-0 at the break.

The biggest surprise of the first 45 minutes was that Real did not have a clear chance on goal aside from Di Maria's saved penalty.

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti opted to keep Ronaldo on the bench for the second half but the Italian brought on Isco for Illarramendi in midfield and Real found some composure.

Gareth Bale fired wide with nearly an hour gone, while only desperate defending denied Karim Benzema with the goal at his mercy after he had rounded Weidenfeller.

Mkhitaryan then squandered a great chance to make it 3-0 on the night, and level the scores on aggregate, when he hit the post having rounded Casillas on 65 minutes, and he blasted a shot straight at the Madrid goalkeeper moments later.

In the game's dying stages, Bale was denied a penalty and then Weidenfeller cleared with the ball at the Welshman's feet before saving another shot as Dortmund fell short of a dream turnaround.

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