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Real Madrid CF made sure of their second triumph in UEFA Champions League Group C after three second-half goals in quick succession helped Manuel Pellegrini's side break down a stubborn Olympique de Marseille at the Santiago Bernabéu.
After a subdued first-half showing, the Spanish club finally opened up their Mediterranean guests with Cristiano Ronaldo registering twice and Kaká scoring from the penalty spot. Amid the flurry of goals, OM were reduced to ten men by Souleymane Diawara's sending-off.
Marseille came into the match on the back of five straight away defeats in the competition and without the injured Bakari Koné, Garry Bocaly and Hilton, yet the visitors began confidently and Benoît Cheyrou missed the game's first chance with a shot over the crossbar. Didier Deschamps' team continued to seek out an opening as the half progressed and Stéphane Mbia almost found Mamadou Niang with a low pass into the centre, but Iker Casillas was alert to the danger.
Madrid had enjoyed a 100 per cent start to their season prior to this encounter with Ligue 1 opposition, yet against a five-man Marseille defence, Los Merengues struggled to show any fluidity and were limited to speculative efforts from Kaká and Ronaldo which Steve Mandanda handled comfortably. Just after the midway point, the visiting supporters sensed their moment had arrived when Lucho fed the sprightly Niang who eased past Pepe before firing straight at Casillas. At the other end, Ronaldo tested Mandanda with another strike from distance before Benzema almost found the target with an overhead kick that dropped over the bar. Benzema was again involved moments before the break when he accepted Kaká's flick-on and had his ensuing attempt saved by the Marseille keeper.
After a sluggish opening to the second period, the match changed completely in the space of six minutes as Madrid scored three times and Marseille lost a man. Ronaldo made the difference when he raced on to Pepe's long punt forward before rolling the ball underneath the leaping Mandanda. Shortly afterwards Ronaldo was the centre of attention again, the referee awarding a penalty after he had zipped past Gabriel Heinze and been halted by Diawara. The defender received a second yellow card. Kaká dispatched a cool penalty. With the hour mark reached and Madrid's fans in full voice, Benzema played a one-two with Kaká on the edge of the area before laying a ball across goal for Ronaldo to net his second, and his fourth of this UEFA Champions League campaign.
Raúl González kept the festive mood going when he entered the fray as a 78th-minute substitute – the 32-year-old becoming the capital club's record appearance maker with 709 outings in all competitions. Fellow replacement Gonzalo Higuaín might have added to the winning margin late on but failed with two attempts, before Brandão had an effort kept out by the otherwise underemployed Casillas.
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