Champions League

Champions League: Ronaldo Romps Real Past Atletico

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg football match Real Madrid CF vs Club Atletico de Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, on May 2, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)
Champions League: Ronaldo Romps Real Past Atletico

Real Madrid put one foot in the UEFA Champions League final after a stunning 3-0 win over their cross-city rival Atletico de Madrid.

The holders were simply phenomenal in every department and caught the Colchoneros from across town completely cold.

Cristiano Ronaldo fired all three goals, capping a truly sensational hat-trick that saw the Portuguese hitman reach the 400 goal mark in Los Blancos colours.

 

The hosts were in complete control from start to finish and took only 10 minutes to make the breakthrough as Ronaldo headed home a Casemiro bounced cross from 6-yards out.

Zinedine Zidane’s men almost doubled the lead five minutes later but Jan Oblak tipped wide heroically from a Raphael Varane header.

The game had opened up and after Kevin Gameiro was thwarted by Keylor Navas at one end, shots were peppered in at the visitor’s goal as both Luka Modric and Karim Benzema went close.

The French striker was inches away from a sublime goal as fine work down the left from Ronaldo resulted in a cross tee’d up that Benzema executed a bicycle kick that shaved the paint off the top of the crossbar.

 

Cholo Simeone’s men were simply over-awed and when Diego Godin volleyed a rare chance over from close range before the break, the 66% possession stat for the 2016 champions told it’s own story.

On what was a dream night for Real, the only part that will leave them with the slightest bitter taste was the injury to Dani Carvajal who landed awkwardly and had to be replaced by Nacho at half time.

 

Real Madrid have knocked neighbours Atleti out of the previous three Champions Leagues and in what is rumoured to be Simeone’s final season at the helm, the Argentine was desperate to put a halt to the nightmares that his arch-rivals have created.

The 2016 runners-up attempted to lift the tempo and came flying into the second half.

Yannick Carrasco blazed over from 25-yards out and Fernando Torres and Nico Gaitan were introduced in places of Gamiero and Saul.

Yet dangerman Antoine Griezmann had a hard time getting into the game and had to work from scraps as the men in white did a stellar job in keeping him quiet.

Brazilian Casemiro was one of the stand out performers in an excellent team performance and his work limited Griezmann’s impact to null.

Asensio was brought on in place of the shining Isco and the extra boost of energy going forward raised Real to another gear.

Cristiano Ronaldo emphatically doubled the lead on 73 minutes after a Benzema pass deflected his way.

With the visitors now chasing and away goal, the game resembled a tennis match and was completely stretched.

The copious amounts of spaces were leapt upon by Zidane’s men and when they found themselves with a four against four on a counter attack, Cristiano slid in Lucas Vasquez who returned the pass via a Casemiro dummy and the record goalscorer was never going to miss.

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In what will be the last ever derby at the Estadio Vicente Calderon next week, the hosts won’t be allowed to give up and 100% belief and work will be demanded of them, yet it’s hard to see past Real Madrid reaching their third final in four years.

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Champions League
@alexclapham

An Englishman that is a coach and analyst within the youth academy of a Spanish club whilst studying Sports Coaching. Obsessive over the tactical concepts of the European game, Alex regularly attends games in the La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A.

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