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Ronaldo hits hat-trick as Real take massive step towards Champions League final

first_imgReal Madrid took a massive step towards the 2017 Champions League final with a 3-0 semi-final first-leg win over city rivals Atletico Madrid at the Bernabeu.A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick put the hosts in the driving seat against Diego Simeone’s men, who, truth be told, never look like their usual selves – lacking intensity and any sort of attacking threat.It took just nine minutes for the hosts to open the lead, capitalising on some early pressure with Ronaldo heading a Ramos cross past Oblak. Just prior to that, Benzema missed a glorious chance to score, tapping wide from close range.Atleti looked rattled after conceding, and Real were afforded all the time they needed to stroke the ball around the middle of the park.And moments later, only a fine diving save from Oblak prevented Varane heading Real into a two-goal lead.But the visitors did manage a chance of their own, Gameiro spurning the opportunity to grab a vital away goal. Koko played a fine ball through to the forward, but his touch was poor inside the area, and Navas was there to claim possession.Luckily for Simeone’s side, for all Real’s excellence with the ball, they were failing to find their way past Oblak.Benzema brought a save from the keeper with a looping strike, Modric fired just wide from the D, and only bad contact with the ball prevented Benzema scoring a wonderful bicycle kick.A fine free-kick from Griezmann led to Godin smashing over from inside the six-yard box, when he should have cut the ball back across the face of goal.The visitors were certainly growing into the game as it wore on, but they failed to breach Real’s defences before the half-time whistle was blown.After the break, the ball was shared much more evenly between the two sides, though Atleti were lacking their usual intensity – and constantly wasted possession in the final third.They were toiling in attack, and wasted chances from Carrasco, Koko and Gameiro caused Simeone to do all three substitutes before the 70th minute.But before any of them could have any impact, Benzema laid the ball off to Ronaldo inside the D, and the Portugal forward smashed a superb finish past Oblak to double the lead.Ronaldo failed to complete his hat-trick after fine work from Asensio, with the latter’s ball into the area just evading him, but with five minutes left the third goal was secured.Vazquez broke into the right side of the area, and he cut the ball back to the penalty spot after reaching the byline.Ronaldo was there to pick up possession, and he rolled the ball past Oblak to make it back-to-back hat-tricks in the Champions League.That goal put Real in total control, and they will head to the Vicente Calderon next week in high spirits. 1last_img read more