Real Madrid 3 Galatasaray 0: Classy Ronaldo and Co on course for semi-finals
20:35 GMT, 3 April 2013
21:05 GMT, 3 April 2013
Real Madrid took a huge step towards reaching the last four of the Champions League by strolling to a comfortable victory over Galatasaray at the Bernabeu.
Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring early in the first half before Karim Benzema doubled the hosts' lead.
Substitute Gonzalo Higuain's second-half header put the result beyond doubt, and made Madrid's task in the second leg at the Turk Telecom Arena next Tuesday look far easier.
Up and over: Cristiano Ronaldo scored the first against Galatasaray at the Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid: Diego Lopez, Varane, Ramos, Coentrao, Khedira, Ronaldo, Ozil (Modric – 80), Alonso, Essien, Di Maria (Pepe 86), Benzema (Higuain 65)
Subs not used: Adan, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Kaka
Booked: Essien, Modric, Ramos
Goals: Ronaldo 9, Benzema 29, Higuain 73
Galatasaray: Muslera, Dany Nounkeu, Kaya, Eboue, Altintop (Bulut 78), Inan, Felipe Melo, Riera (Amrabat 83), Sneijder (Zan 46), Yilmaz, Drogba
Subs not used: Iscan, Balta, Sarioglu, Kurtulus
Booked: Dany Nounkeu, Felipe Melo, Yilmaz, Drogba
Referee: Oddvar Moen
Galatasaray's coach and players had
insisted before the game that they would try to attack the Primera
Division champions and would not settle for holding out for a draw. They
were loyal to their promise in the first half, but it left them very
exposed at the back.
Madrid, who have the reputation for
being one of the best counter-attacking teams in Europe, were given a
generous amount of space by their opponents and made full use of it.
They had their first attempt on two
minutes, Benzema heading just over the bar after a cross from Angel Di
Maria, and they took the lead after just nine minutes.
Xabi Alonso supplied the ball up to
Mesut Ozil from his own half and the German played a one-two with
Benzema, which allowed him space to deliver an excellent low pass into
the path of Ronaldo, who calmly chipped the ball over goalkeeper
Fernando Muslera and into the net.
Gala played pretty football but
struggled to penetrate the Madrid backline and were limited to shots
from outside the area. Didier Drogba turned Raphael Varane on the
18-yard line and shot just over the bar, while Wesley Sneijder also
missed the target from 20 yards.
In the goals: Karim Benzema got the second for the hosts
Sea of red: Galatasaray fans lit a flare to celebrate the occasion
Ozil could have doubled the lead when
a long Sergio Ramos header out of defence led to Madrid attacking, but
the midfielder, receiving the ball from Ronaldo, could not put his shot
Madrid's second goal arrived just
before the half-hour mark. Michael Essien, a surprise inclusion in the
starting line-up at the expense of Alvaro Arbeloa, delivered a high ball
into the box which fell at the feet of Benzema, who was in space, took
one touch to control the pass and slotted home from six yards.
Galatasaray's best chance of the half
fell to Emmanuel Eboue just before the interval. The former Arsenal
player burst through on goal but hit his shot straight at Diego Lopez's
Sneijder, unimpressive in the first
45 minutes against his former club, was removed at half-time and
replaced by defender Gokhan Zan – a move which saw Fatih Terim's side
switch to a back three, with Eboue pushing up to right midfield.
Struggle: Didier Drogba led the line for the visitors
Three and easy: Gonzalo Higuain scored the third with a glancing header
The tactical change did not help the
visitors' attacking ambitions, and they went on to pose even less of a
threat after the break as they had before it.
Madrid also dropped their intensity
in the second period. Ronaldo and Di Maria both had chances to test
Muslera, the better of which fell to the Argentinian, but the goalkeeper
had little trouble with either effort.
Higuain came on for Benzema on 65
minutes and seven minutes later made the triumph secure when he headed
in a free-kick from Xabi Alonso.
Rough and tumble: Sergio Ramos (left) drags Didier Drogba to the floor in the second half
Jose Mourinho's side rode out the
final minutes of the game with little trouble. Alonso and Ramos both
picked up yellow cards which mean they will miss the second leg.
Achieving victory was much lighter
work for Madrid than their two hard-fought games with Manchester United
in the previous round but, barring a complete collapse in Istanbul, they
can be confident of reaching their third consecutive Champions League
semi-final under Mourinho.
Putting out fires: Sami Khedira (right) and Ramos tackle Burak Yilmaz
Over you go: Ronaldo hits the deck after Semih Kaya (centre) backs into the Portugal forward