Thursday, April 3, 2014

Madrid ease to Dortmund triump

Real Madrid CF 3-0 Borussia Dortmund Goals in the first half-hour from Gareth Bale and Isco were added to by Cristiano Ronaldo's record-equalling strike. Real Madrid CF took command of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie against Borussia Dortmund after Carlo Ancelotti's side eased past last year's beaten finalists with an energetic first-leg display. The nine-time champions accounted for Dortmund's Bundesliga rivals FC Schalke 04 in the last round and they quickly set about Jürgen Klopp's men in this last-eight encounter, Gareth Bale scoring his ninth UEFA Champions League goal in the third minute. In the team to replace Ángel Di María – a late withdrawal with a virus – midfielder Isco added a second as the hosts overran their opponents who fell 3-0 behind to Cristiano Ronaldo's record-equalling 14th goal of this season's competition in the second half. Determined to avenge their semi-final loss to the Schwarzgelben last April, Madrid followed their coach's attacking orders and were soon in front after Karim Benzema, on the right flank, picked out Daniel Carvajal's run into the box. The Spanish Under-21 international cut back for Bale whose first touch edged Sokratis Papastathopoulos out of the picture, leaving the Welshman free to poke a finish under Roman Weidenfeller. Given little time to recover by the relentless Merengues, Dortmund's defenders were soon backpedalling again, with Ronaldo – on his 100th UEFA Champions League outing – drawing successive flying saves from Weidenfeller. That a second Madrid goal would arrive as the half progressed appeared inevitable, and so it proved, with Isco, a beaten quarter-finalist with Málaga CF against Dortmund last term, driving a low right-footed shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the area. Bale's whipped free-kick would have brought more but for Dortmund's alert No1 while, at the other end, Iker Casillas dealt with Kevin Grosskreutz's testing effort. As the rain poured down, and after opportunities were spurned in both boxes, Ronaldo showed the way, accepting Luka Modrić's through pass before applying a clever finish in the 57th minute. The goal meant Ronaldo equalled Lionel Messi and José Altafini's 14-goal record for a single European Cup campaign. Their chances of bettering a record of one win in 11 previous visits to Spain now all but over, Dortmund had nonetheless threatened throughout and were denied a route back into the tie when Pepe threw himself at Henrikh Mkhitaryan's goal-bound strike. Benzema then elicited another fine stop from Weidenfeller but, as it stands, Madrid have a clear edge in their hunt for a record 25th European Cup semi-final appearance.