Messi and Ronaldo Watch: Messi Fuels Comeback, Ronaldo Hits Late Winner

Michael CummingsWorld Football Lead WriterSeptember 24, 2012

Messi and Ronaldo Watch: Messi Fuels Comeback, Ronaldo Hits Late Winner

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    The world's two best players proved it in the clutch last week.

    Cristiano Ronaldo scored the late winner, as Real Madrid edged Manchester City in the Champions League last week.

    Lionel Messi? He only scored the equalizer and the winner, as Barcelona came from behind to beat Spartak Moscow.

    Just another week for these two, as we'll see in this week's edition of B/R's Messi and Ronaldo Watch.

Cristiano Ronaldo Sends Manchester City Home Empty-Handed

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    English champions Manchester City carried a 2-1 lead into the closing minutes of their trip to Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday. But Real pulled off a 3-2 victory with a late comeback capped by Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Karim Benzema equalized for Real in the 87th minute before Ronaldo grabbed the winner three minutes later. Ronaldo cut in from the left, beat a defender and whipped a dipping shot into City's net.

    City defender Vincent Kompany seemed to misjudge the ball, and keeper Joe Hart in turn saw it slip past his grasp. The goal can be seen in this video starting around the 9:12 mark (warning: turn down your speakers).

    The victory sent Real, the defending La Liga champions, to the top of Group D, the so-called "Group of Death" this season. Real and German champions Borussia Dortmund both have three points after one match.

    Jose Mourinho's team returns to Champions League action with a trip to Dutch champions Ajax on Oct. 3.

Lionel Messi Double Lifts Barca Past Spartak

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    Lionel Messi scored twice in the final 20 minutes, as Barcelona turned around a second-half deficit and beat Spartak Moscow 3-2 at home in the Champions League on Wednesday.

    Barca had led in the first half through Cristian Tello's 14th-minute goal, but Dani Alves' own goal 15 minutes later leveled the score heading into halftime. Romulo put Spartak ahead with a shock goal in the 58th minute before Messi's late drama.

    Tello teed up Messi for the equalizer in the 71st minute, and Messi headed home an Alexis Sanchez cross for the winner with 10 minutes left.

    Messi's goals can be viewed here and here.

    Barcelona's next Champions League match, a trip to Benfica, is scheduled for Oct. 2.

Messi Scoreless as Barca Win Again in League

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    Barcelona returned to La Liga with a hard-fought 2-0 home victory over Granada on Saturday.

    Lionel Messi started and played the full 90 minutes but did not score. His cross in second-half stoppage time was headed into Granada's net for an own goal by Borja Gomez.

    Messi nearly scored on a breakaway in the 65th, but Granada keeper Toño saved one-on-one.

    Xavi scored Barca's other goal, a superb strike from distance, in the 87th minute. Click here to view the goal.

    Cameras spotted Messi and Barca teammate David Villa arguing near the end of the first half. Messi later denied any tension between the two (via FoxSports.com).

    Barcelona, who top the table with 15 points from five matches, travel to Sevilla on Saturday.

Ronaldo Nets Penalty, Misses Open Net as Real Beat Rayo

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    Real Madrid put their league campaign back on track with a 2-0 victory at Rayo Vallecano on Monday, in a match that was postponed due to sabotage.

    The match was originally scheduled to be played Sunday, but vandals damaged the lights at Rayo's Estadio de Vallecas (via The Guardian).

    Karim Benzema scored Real's opener in the 13th minute. Cristiano Ronaldo won a penalty, which he converted with a powerful drive into the side netting, in the 70th minute.

    Ronaldo also missed an open net in the 75th minute.

    The victory moved Real up to seventh with seven points from five matches.

Updated Totals

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    Lionel Messi leads La Liga with six goals this season. He has 10 in all competitions.

    Cristiano Ronaldo has three league goals and six in all competitions.