Real Madrid planted one foot firmly in the Champions League semi-finals with an emphatic 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday as Cristiano Ronaldo equalled the record for most goals in the tournament in one season.
Gareth Bale poked the ball into the net in the third minute of the quarter-final first leg at the Bernabeu to put a dominant Real ahead and Isco curled in a second in the 27th.
Ronaldo notched his 14th goal in eight Champions League games this season 12 minutes after halftime, matching a record set by Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in 2011-12, as the nine-times winners opened a big lead going into the second leg on Tuesday.
It was the Portugal forward’s 100th Champions League appearance and the goal, when he picked up a Luka Modric pass and clipped the ball into the net from close range, took his overall tally to 64.
“It’s a magnificent result, we are pleased with the 3-0, above all for not conceding a goal,” Real playmaker Isco said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Canal Plus.
“It’s a big step towards a place in the semi-finals,” he added.
“The whole defence should get 10 out of 10, and the team as well, the result was more than deserved.”
Dortmund, who knocked Real out in the semi-finals last season, immediately went on the attack but were rocked back when Dani Carvajal found space in the area and slipped a pass to Bale.
The Wales winger took one touch and then did well to stretch out a leg and poke the ball past onrushing Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller into an empty net.
Buoyed by the goal, the home side started to dominate and Weidenfeller pulled off an acrobatic save to keep out a Ronaldo free kick in the 12th minute before Isco struck.
Xabi Alonso intercepted the ball near the Dortmund penalty area and when it fell to Isco he sent a low curling effort just inside the post.
Weidenfeller was tested again when Bale arrowed a free kick towards the top corner and Dortmund’s woes mounted when captain Sebastian Kehl picked up a yellow card and a suspension for the return leg.
The rain began pouring down at halftime and Dortmund started the second half brightly, almost scoring after a swift break in the 55th.
However, another sloppy pass out of defence led to Real’s third and when Modric fed Ronaldo and he showed fancy footwork before beating a stranded Weidenfeller.
Ronaldo has not always received unconditional adoration from the Real faithful since joining in 2009 but he was given a rousing ovation when he apparently picked up an injury and was substituted 10 minutes from time.
Missing striker Robert Lewandowski and a host of injured players, Dortmund were comprehensively outplayed …continued »