|(Champions League) Real Madrid turn tables on Dortmund
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a record equaling goal before exiting to injury as Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0 yesterday in Madrid, Spain, to take a big step toward the Champions League semi-finals.
Ronaldo netted his 14th goal of the season in Europe's top competition to give Madrid a clear advantage ahead of next week's quarterfinal return leg in Germany. But it came at a price as the Portugal forward, who came into the first-leg nursing a sore left knee, came off in the 80th minute, AP reports
Gareth Bale scored early and Isco (Pictured, left) added another before the half hour mark at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
The Spaniards opened against Dortmund as the Germans had against them in the semi-finals last season _ when they thrashed Madrid 4-1 en route to reaching the final with a 4-3 victory on aggregate.
Madrid certainly didn't need inspiration after last seasons' loss to Dortmund, who were without suspended striker Robert Lewandowski and five more regulars to injury as it fielded just four of the players present in last season's 4-1 win.
The energetic start saw Bale nearly miss Dani Carvajal's short pass inside the area before stretching to toe poke his fifth goal of the competition under goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller after just three minutes.
Weidenfeller was sharp despite Madrid's early onslaught as he punched free kicks from Ronaldo and Bale over the bar. He also stayed in the game despite wincing in pain after Marco Reus made a clearance that also connected with the `keeper's hands.
With forward Angel Di Maria out to a gastro virus, Isco showed good poise to gather a loose ball in front of the area and slide home a low shot for 2-0 in the 27th minute.
The Spain midfielder's goal was just the boost Madrid needed as Dortmund began to find its rhythm, with Kevin Grosskreutz forcing Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas into a low stop in the 33rd.
Ronaldo, playing in his 100th Champions League game, was clearly eager to match the record 14 goals scored by Lionel Messi in one Champions League campaign.
Luka Modric made it happen as the Croat pounced on a poor Dortmund pass deep in its own area in the 57th minute and picked out Ronaldo, who dribbled around Weidenfeller for his 45th goal of the season. Jose Altafini also scored 14 goals in the 1962/63 European Cup campaign for AC Milan.
While Ronaldo and Karim Benzema continued to threaten Dortmund's goal, Madrid were fortunate not to concede under pressure as Pepe blocked Reus' shot from inside the area after Casillas failed to control a cross. Madrid's defense blocked several Dortmund shots during the final stages.