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Madrid registers Solari as coach to beat deadline

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MADRID (AP) Real Madrid registered Santiago Solari as its coach on Monday because Spanish league regulations prohibit a club from having an interim coach for more than two weeks.

[READ: Pogba, Martial out of France squad with injuries]

Madrid has not said whether it stopped looking for a full-time replacement for Julen Lopetegui, who was fired on Oct. 29. Solari, a former Madrid player, was appointed as the interim coach but had not been ruled out as a candidate. His chances of staying increased after he led Madrid to four straight victories since replacing Lopetegui.

“What I can say is that we are very happy (with Solari),” said Emilio Butragueno, Madrid’s director of institutional relations. “He arrived at a very particular moment and has been able to achieve some very good results.”

Even prior to the sacking of Lopetegui, Real Madrid appeared ready to bring in former Chelsea and Juventus boss Antonio Conte, but the Italian’s move to Madrid never materialized. In the time span, with it being the middle of the season, Real Madrid had almost no choice but to go forward with Solari at least until the end of this season.

Champions League wrap: Real breaks out for five, Roma keeps pace

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What a day!

We’ve written it before, but this season’s UEFA Champions League has brought loads of entertainment on nearly every match day.

[ MORE: Kane backs Rooney for captain ]

Wednesday was no different, with last-minute drama in Italy and France.


Bayern Munich 2-0 AEK Athens

Robert Lewandowski scored twice, first with a penalty, then with a header, as the reigning German champions are within a result of the knockout rounds.

Benfica 1-1 Ajax

The Dusan Tadic signing continues to pay dividends, as the Serbian star’s 61st minute goal leveled things in Portugal after Jonas gave Benfica a halftime lead.

Group E
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Bayern Munich 4 3 1 0 7 1 6 1-1-0 2-0-0 10
Ajax 4 2 2 0 6 2 4 2-0-0 0-2-0 8
Benfica 4 1 1 2 4 6 -2 0-1-1 1-0-1 4
AEK Athens 4 0 0 4 2 10 -8 0-0-2 0-0-2 0

Manchester City 6-0 Shakhtar Donetsk RECAP

Gabriel Jesus struck for three, including two penalties, as Man City ran all over the visiting Ukrainian powers at the Etihad Stadium. David Silva scored and starred again, as did two-goal man Raheem Sterling.

Lyon 2-2 Hoffenheim

If these two draw each other in any competition, buckle up. After a 3-3 draw in Germany two weeks ago, Lyon opened up a 2-0 lead at halftime through Nabil Fekir and Tanguy Ndombele. But Andrej Kramaric scored in the 65th minute to set up Pavel Kaderabek’s stunning equalizer in stoppage time.

Group F
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Manchester City 4 3 0 1 12 3 9 1-0-1 2-0-0 9
Lyon 4 1 3 0 9 8 1 0-2-0 1-1-0 6
1899 Hoffenheim 4 0 3 1 8 9 -1 0-1-1 0-2-0 3
Shakhtar Donetsk 4 0 2 2 4 13 -9 0-1-1 0-1-1 2

CSKA Moscow 1-2 AS Roma

Arnor Sigurdsson’s 50th minute goal briefly gave the hosts level footing following Kostas Manolas’ fourth minute opener, but Lorenzo Pellegrini nabbed a winner for i Lupi in the 59th minute to stay level with Real on nine points.

Viktoria Plzen 0-5 Real Madrid

Santiago Solari’s Champions League debut as manager went pretty well, with Karim Benzema scoring twice en route to a 4-0 halftime lead for Real. Gareth Bale, Casemiro, and Toni Kroos also scored for the group leaders, who visit Rome on Nov. 27.

Group G
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Real Madrid 4 3 0 1 10 2 8 2-0-0 1-0-1 9
Roma 4 3 0 1 10 4 6 2-0-0 1-0-1 9
CSKA Moscow 4 1 1 2 4 7 -3 1-0-1 0-1-1 4
Viktoria Plzen 4 0 1 3 3 14 -11 0-1-1 0-0-2 1

Valencia 3-1 Young Boys

Santi Mina scored twice as the Spanish hosts stayed within striking distance of Manchester United.

Juventus 1-2 Manchester UnitedRECAP

Cristiano Ronaldo scored an absolute beauty, which has largely been lost in the sauce of United’s furious five-minute comeback and Jose Mourinho’s mostly hilarious post-match antics (Not sporting? Of course not, but don’t deny us the humor of it). So, wow, here it is:

Group H
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Juventus 4 3 0 1 7 2 5 1-0-1 2-0-0 9
Manchester United 4 2 1 1 5 2 3 0-1-1 2-0-0 7
València 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 1-0-1 0-2-0 5
Young Boys 4 0 1 3 2 10 -8 0-1-1 0-0-2 1

WATCH: Benzema’s mazy dribble highlights Real’s four-goal half

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Real Madrid is responding well to a disappointing outing against Viktoria Plzen on its last UEFA Champions League match day.

Two weeks after beating the Czech side 2-1 in Spain, the three-time reigning champions scored four first-half goals in the Czech Republic to open up a 4-0 lead at Doosan Arena.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Gareth Bale and Casemiro have scored, but the star of the show has been Karim Benzema.

The Frenchman’s first of two goals was a clever dribble past several Viktoria defenders.

We wouldn’t recommend he try a similar feat against better opposition, but again this is the team that did hold Real to two goals at the Bernabeu.

La Liga: Real Madrid get late own goal, penalty to end slump

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MADRID (AP) Real Madrid needed an own-goal and late penalty to beat Valladolid 2-0 and end its slump in the Spanish league as interim coach Santiago Solari made his home debut on Saturday.

Substitute Vinicius Junior’s off-target shot took a deflection off defender Kiko Olivas in the 83rd minute and caught goalkeeper Jordi Masip out of position. Masip touched the ball but couldn’t keep it from going in.

Sergio Ramos added a second goal from the penalty spot in the 88th after Karim Benzema was fouled by Fernando Calero.

Until then, Valladolid threatened to extend Madrid’s winless run. Ruben Alcaraz and Toni Villa hit the woodwork for the visitors with long strikes in the second half.

Madrid’s first win in six rounds lifted it from ninth to sixth place.

Madrid’s fans jeered its players when Valladolid went close to scoring, and especially when ineffective forwards Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio were substituted at 0-0.

“We understand how our supporters feel,” Ramos said. “We, as players, are the ones who are responsible (for the poor run) and we are the ones who have the opportunity to turn this around. These three points are important to boost our morale.”

Solari was named Madrid’s caretaker coach on Monday, when predecessor Julen Lopetegui was fired a day after a 5-1 loss at Barcelona. Madrid won 4-0 at third-division Melilla in the Copa del Rey in Solari’s debut on Wednesday.

“I would have liked to win 7-0 with three goals from bicycle kicks,” said Solari, a former Madrid midfielder. “But that’s not football, which is hard. There are moments when you have to have order, commitment, a serious attitude, effort and a competitive spirit, and we showed those tonight and we won.”

Valladolid is exceeding expectations after winning promotion last season. Owned by Brazil great Ronaldo, it entered the match at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on a six-match unbeaten streak. The defeat left it in eighth place.

“In the second half we played better than Madrid,” Valladolid coach Sergio Gonzalez said. “I’m happy for that but frustrated by the result, which doesn’t reflect the enormous effort of my players.”

Pochettino compares relationship with Spurs to couple in love

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Earlier this week, Mauricio Pochettino told us that he was as happy as he’s been in some time with his Tottenham Hotspur despite a 1-0 loss to Man City on Monday.

Today, he sounds downright joyous.

Pochettino was asked about Real Madrid interest in prying him away from North London, and equated it to true love.

[ MORE: Man Utd beats Bournemouth late ]

“It is like you are with your girlfriend or wife and you are holding hands, walking down Oxford Street,” he said. “But because you are so handsome, another woman is looking at you. But your wife is so proud and, rather than worrying, she is so happy to be with you and falls more in love with you.”

Sensual, but is it all the Argentine equivalent of “Thou dost protest too much?”

Pochettino also addressed the stadium delay, and the long-term project of turning the team into a true European powerhouse. He is urging patience, saying that his fidelity to the club and Dele Alli resigning is more about the size of Spurs than any individual component.

Spurs play Wolves at 3:45 p.m. ET on CNBC (Watch live online at NBCSports.com).