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Milan slip up at slick Madrid

Real Madrid CF 2-0 AC Milan
Two goals in as many first-half minutes sent José Mourinho's side five points clear of the rest in Group G though the margin could have been greater.

Milan slip up at slick Madrid
Milan slip up at slick Madrid ©UEFA.com

Real Madrid CF went five points clear at the top of Group G after two goals in as many first-half minutes from Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Özil earned victory against AC Milan.

José Mourinho may be a long way off realising his ambition of becoming the first coach in UEFA Champions League history to win the competition with three different clubs, yet he will be delighted with his team's progress. An early goal always helps and here they had two, Ronaldo breaking the deadlock on 13 minutes before teeing up a second for Özil almost straight from the restart. Milan could not muster a response.

The hosts went into the game having lost their previous three home meetings against Italian opposition – including a 3-2 defeat by Milan at the same stage last term – but fears of that run being extended were soon allayed. Winning a free-kick on the edge of the Milan area, Xabi Alonso stepped aside to allow Ronaldo to fire through a poorly-formed wall and past goalkeeper Marco Amelia.

It was a frustrating start for Amelia, making his Milan debut in place of the injured Christian Abbiati. It soon got worse, the 28-year-old left stranded when Özil's shot took a big deflection off Daniele Bonera and dropped into the empty net after a strong run from Ronaldo.

Massimiliano Allegri's side came back into the contest and went close to pulling a goal back shortly before the half-hour when a combination of Iker Casillas and the crossbar kept out Andrea Pirlo's clever free-kick. Clarence Seedorf also scooped over when well positioned yet despite the scares, Mourinho's side were dominant.

The industrious Ángel Di María deflected a Ronaldo pass over and had he opted to pass rather than go it alone on one blistering counterattack it would surely have been 3-0. At least Ronaldo gave Amelia chance to show his skills, drawing a flying save from a goalkeeper relieved to hear the half-time whistle soon after.

The break brought only temporary respite for the Rossoneri; the onslaught resumed after the restart. Gonzalo Higuaín ended a slick move with a header that was saved low down by Amelia and Sami Khedira and Ronaldo both spurned presentable chances to secure Madrid's third win of the group stage.

Los Merengues would not be denied, however, despite a late rally from the visitors, Zlatan Ibrahimović diverting Filippo Inzaghi's cross just wide.