The ten men of Real Madrid CF responded to a slow start to beat Galatasaray AŞ comfortably for a second time and confirm their place in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 as Group B winners.
The 26th-minute dismissal of Sergio Ramos provided the unlikely spark for a previously lacklustre home side, Carlo Ancelotti's charges reacting by taking the lead through a Gareth Bale free-kick. Galatasaray – still in contention to join Madrid in the knockout stages despite this second heavy defeat by the Spanish club – levelled immediately through Umut Bulut's strike but Madrid took control thereafter, second-half goals from Álvaro Arbeloa, Ángel Di María and Isco securing the points.
Looking to make light of the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo – scorer of eight goals in the competition this season – Madrid tried to impose their 4-2-3-1 formation in the early exchanges. With four minutes gone, they had the perfect opportunity to steal in front when Bale raced onto Isco's through pass. With only Eray İşcan for company, however, the Welsh international side-footed wide.
Madrid had registered 14 goals in their first four matches, yet the nine-time European champions were struggling to click as an attacking force. Ramos's sending-off for pulling back Umut midway through the half compounded their unease but relief finally came when Bale lifted a free-kick over the Galatasaray wall to break the deadlock.
Kicking off in second place despite their loss at FC København last time out, Galatasaray restored parity within a minute. Didier Drogba's sublime pass with the outside of his boot split the home defence; Umut did the rest with a calm finish.
The increasing pace of the game continued into the second period, which was six minutes old when Arbeloa – picked out by Di María's pass – found himself unmarked to notch his second UEFA Champions League goal in 56 appearances. The Spanish international was involved again as Madrid increased their advantage, accepting Isco's pass from the flank before returning the favour for Di María to score.
Now looking more like the team that enjoyed a 6-1 win against the same opponents in September, the hosts sought to close out the contest. With nine minutes left they did just that, Isco making the most of a fortuitous rebound with a cool finish. Galatasaray must now beat Juventus in their final game on 10 December to claim the section's second qualifying berth; Madrid travel to Copenhagen the same night knowing where they will come.
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