13-time European champions Real Madrid have taken top spot in Group D for the first time after the slender victory over Ukrainian side Shakthar Donetsk.

Real Madrid started the Shakthar game in second place behind Sheriff Tiraspol FC of Moldova. The two teams had six points from three matches but the Moldovans had a better head-to-head record after their stunning 2-1 win over Real Madrid during the second set of games in their group.

For the fourth set of games in Group D,Karim Benzema was the star of the show after he scored a brace either side of the half-time interval to propel Real Madrid to a third win via a 2-1 victory over their Ukrainian opponents.

Frenchman Benzema is in the running for the BallonD’or Award this year and he didn’t do his chances any harm with his performances against Shakthar Donetsk. Apart from Real Madrid star Benzema, others like Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Jorginho and Mohamed Salah are also in the running for the biggest individual prize in the world of football.

Benzema gave Real Madrid the lead on 14 minutes and the La Liga giants were ahead until six minutes from the half-time break when Fernando levelled proceedings for the visitors. Real Madrid have relied heavily on the attacking duo of Vinicius Junior and the aforementioned Benzema this season. The two players combined for the first goal in the first half and they repeated the same feat shortly after the hour mark to help their team regain the lead. The second goal from Benzema turned out to be the winning goal in the end.

Group D summit is presently occupied by Real Madrid after previous recipients FC Sheriff were beaten 3-1 at home by Italian champions Inter Milan. Sheriff are down to third with their latest defeat to the Nerazzuri. Inter are up to second place with the win.