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Benzema sends Madrid marching into last 16

Real Madrid CF 1-0 Liverpool FC
Karim Benzema continued his record of scoring in every Group B game as the holders made it four wins from four to reach the knockout stage.

Ancelotti delight with Madrid progress

Holders Madrid seal their place in the UEFA Champions League round of 16
Karim Benzema (27) secures a fourth successive Group B victory
Iker Casillas now the competition's all-time record appearance holder on 144 games
Carlo Ancelotti's team have won 12 consecutive matches in all competitions
Next games: Basel v Real Madrid, Ludogorets v Liverpool (26 November)

Knowing a fourth Group B win would take them through to the knockout phase for the 19th time, Madrid immediately took control of the ball and looked for an early goal. It almost came as James Rodríguez found space on the edge of the box in the third minute, but his left-footed drive was kept out by Simon Mignolet at full length.

Cristiano Ronaldo began the night needing one goal to equal former Merengues striker Raúl González's competition record of 71, and he might have attained that mark within ten minutes. Mignolet once again came to the visitors' rescue with a stunning reaction save after Benzema had robbed Martin Škrtel.

Liverpool were content to sit back, soak up pressure and cede possession, but just before the half-hour they were undone. Marcelo's left-wing cross was expertly turned in at the far post by the stretching Benzema, the Frenchman keeping up his run of scoring in every matchday of this season's tournament.

Ronaldo then had a free-kick parried as the Merengues strove to put the match beyond their opponents, who failed to truly test Iker Casillas on his record 144th appearance in the UEFA Champions League.

Madrid remained on top as the second half started, with palpable excitement whenever Ronaldo got on the ball. Mignolet again proved his equal, however, this time smothering a low effort.

While they dominated the ball, Madrid were dealt a warning by Adam Lallana, who fired just past Casillas's post before a Fabio Borini free-kick was deflected wide as the five-times European Cup winners enjoyed their best spell.

However, that was as good as it got for Liverpool, Ronaldo having a close-range effort blocked by Kolo Touré before Benzema almost combined with Marcelo again and substitute Gareth Bale rattled the crossbar. The Welshman was denied late on by Mignolet but Madrid had already ensured their winning streak would continue.

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