Ronaldo reaches 80 goals as Madrid fell Shakhtar
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Real Madrid 4-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick took the Portugal forward onto 80 UEFA Champions League goals, Karim Benzema also scoring.
Article top media content
- Madrid open Group A with emphatic home win against Shakhtar
- Karim Benzema breaks the deadlock with simple finish (30)
- Cristiano Ronaldo nets second-half hat-trick after Taras Stepanenko's red card
- Ronaldo now outright UEFA Champions League top scorer with 80 goals
- Next games: Malmö v Real Madrid, Shakhtar v Paris (30 September)
A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick inspired Real Madrid to a comfortable victory against Shakhtar Donetsk as the 2014 winners got their UEFA Champions League campaign off to an emphatic start.
In a breathless opening, Isco fired over after just three minutes; 60 seconds later Marlos's cross narrowly evaded Alex Teixeira after Raphaël Varane – who would depart injured at half-time – was caught in possession.
The home side should have taken the lead on 15 minutes when Ronaldo's neat through ball found Karim Benzema, who rounded Andriy Pyatov but fired over.
Despite Gareth Bale limping off, the Merengues made the breakthrough on the half-hour. Pyatov spilled Isco's cross from the left and this time Benzema made no mistake.
Shakhtar's hopes were all but extinguished early in the second half as Taras Stepanenko was dismissed for a second bookable offence and Ronaldo quickly increased Madrid's advantage to 3-0 with two penalties after Darijo Srna and Márcio Azevedo were each adjudged to have handled.
That gave the Portuguese 11 UEFA Champions League penalties, group stage to final – a competition record. Ten minutes from time he nodded in after Pyatov could only parry Marcelo's effort from range, his 80th UEFA Champions League goal crowning a fine opening night for Madrid.
Man of the match: Cristiano Ronaldo
Madrid's main man registered three times in the second period to take his tally to 80 UEFA Champions League strikes and move ahead as the tournament's outright top scorer.
Where the match was won
After an even first half-hour, Pyatov's failure to hang onto Isco's delivery undermined Shakhtar's efforts. Following the dismissal of Stepanenko early in the second period Madrid took charge and there was only going to be one winner.
Despite initially lining up with a 4-2-3-1, Madrid coach Rafael Benítez changed to a 4-4-2 when Bale was forced off through injury in the first period. The Spaniard introduced Mateo Kovačić on the right of midfield, putting Ronaldo up front with Benzema, and it paid dividends with a second-half treble.