Real Madrid's Benzema celebrates with DiMaria after his goal against L.A. Galaxy during their Guinness International Champions Cup soccer match in Phoenix

Isco and Benzema hand Real Madrid a 3-1 victory over LA Galaxy


Real Madrid cruised to a 3-1 victory over the LA Galaxy in the fourth and final opening match of the 2013 Guinness International Champions Cup played in Phoenix, Arizona.

The tandem of Isco, who created Madrid’s first two goals, and substitute Karim Benzema, who bagged a second half brace, proved too much for a reduced Galaxy side that was without Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez.

Within six minutes of the opening whistle Los Blancos‘ quality was on display with Cristiano Ronaldo thumping his header off the bar.

Eleven minutes later and Madrid had their lead. Isco found Ronaldo with a 35 yard ball that drew three Galaxy defenders, only for the winger to one-time a pass to a streaking Angel Di Maria, who cooly finished from 14 yards out.

Madrid continued to impress before the break, enjoying the majority of possession, with Ronaldo and Di Maria linking up frequently while Isco went close four minutes before half-time. The Galaxy had their opportunities as well, with Jose Villarreal’s pressure causing problems and a Juninho free-kick going just wide of the mark.

After the interval Benzema entered for Ronaldo and within six minutes the French international doubled Madrid’s lead, latching on to a fantastic ball that Isco curled in with the outside of his right foot. The 30 yard effort swung directly onto the foot of Benzema, who took one touch to settle and another to dispatch making the score 2-0.

It was always going to be an uphill battle for the Galaxy but the young side pressed forward and were rewarded for their efforts in the 63rd minute when Villarreal took down a failed clearance from 25 yards out, beat two Madrid defenders and ripped a left-footed shot into the far corner.

Los Angeles looked like it might rally but eleven minutes later Di Maria raced down the left side of the pitch and hooked in a perfect cross to Benzema, who headed easily from 6 yards out.

With the win, Madrid move on to the winner’s bracket to face Everton at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, while the Galaxy meet Juventus at the same venue later that day.

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

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Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).