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Real lead 'Group of Death' after second straight win

Di Maria came on to score Real's valuable late winner in Auxerre as they top Group G.
Di Maria came on to score Real's valuable late winner in Auxerre as they top Group G.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Real Madrid beat Auxerre 1-0 for second successive win in Group G
  • Angel di Maria scores a late winner for Jose Mourinho's team in France
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic grabs equalizer for AC Milan against Ajax
  • Arsenal and Shakhtar Donetsk maintain perfect records in Group H
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(CNN) -- Real Madrid took a giant stride towards the knockout stage of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Auxerre for their second straight win in the tough Group G on Tuesday night.

A late goal from substitute Angel di Maria sealed the points for Jose Mourinho's men who beat Ajax Amsterdam 2-0 in the Bernabeu in their group opener.

The visitors had dominated the game and created a series of chances, but looked set for another goalless draw until di Maria struck with nine minutes left.

The Argentine winger controlled a right-wing cross on his chest before volleying home.

Auxerre had offered precious little in attack but moments before Real defender Pepe's header struck his own post and bounced clear.

The win leaves them with six points from two games, two clear of AC Milan, who drew 1-1 with Ajax in the other match played Tuesday in a group of three teams with illustrious records in the competition.

Former Ajax striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic dealt his old side a blow with Milan's equalizer -- his third in the tournament having scored twice in the opening 2-0 win over Auxerre.

The Swede combined with Clarence Seedorf to pull them level in the 37th minute.

Ajax had gone ahead in the 23rd minute, with Uruguay international Luis Suarez playing a vital part as he foxed Alessandro Nesta before sending a low cross for Moroccan international Mounir El Hamdaoui to score past past Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.

In Group H, Arsenal and Shakhtar Donetsk are forging clear after two straight wins apiece.

Arsenal scored a thrilling 3-1 victory at 10-man Partizan Belgrade, while Ukrainian side Shakhtar were equally convincing 3-0 winners against Braga.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal were coming off a shock 3-2 defeat to West Brom in the English Premier League on Saturday but survived some scares for a comfortable win.

Man of the match Jack Wilshere brilliantly set up Andrey Arshavin to give them a 15th minute but Partizan draw level against the run of play through Brazil-born striker Cleo from the spot.

Partizan Marko Jovanovic lost early in the second-half as he conceded a penalty but Arshavin saw his penalty saved by goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic before striker Marouane Chamakh put them ahead again on 71 minutes.

Sebastien Squillaci nodded home substitute Samir Nasri's corner to make it 3-1 in the 82nd minute before the underfire Lukasz Fabianski dived to his right to save Cleo's late penalty for Partizan.

Shakhtar's Brazilian stars Douglas Costa and Luiz Adriano were key to their win as Braga, thrashed 6-0 at Arsenal in the first match, lost heavily on their home ground.

Costa set up his teammate and compatriot for the first two goals and added the third from the spot in the last minute when converted after Paulo Cesar had fouled Willian in the area.