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Real Madrid have one foot in the finals of the UEFA Champions League 2016-17 after they defeated neighbours Atletico Madrid 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of the semi-finals on Tuesday night.
It was Real who drew first blood when Cristiano Ronaldo nodded the ball past Jan Oblak in the 10th minute. The Portuguese maverick then went on to double his tally in the 73rd minute, before completing his hat-trick 13 minutes later with a cool finish, to all but confirm his team’s qualification for the finals.
The emphatic victory means that Zinedine Zidane’s men are on the brink of making it to the final of the competition for the third time in four years, and are in with a chance to become the first ever club to retain the Champions League trophy.
Here is how the Real players fared on the night:
Excellent save rushing off from his line to deny Kevin Gameiro in the first half. Wasn’t called into action much from then on.
Bombed forward with great intent and was one of Madrid’s primary attacking outlets in the first-half, before being subbed off at half-time due to an injury.
Forced a save from Oblak with a goal-bound header. An important intervention in the first period after Casemiro conceded possession in a dangerous area. Kept his compatriot Antoine Griezmann in check. Enjoyed a strong return from injury.
Another typically strong and robust performance at the back from the Real captain. No silly fouls conceded, no bookings earned – good day in the office.
As always, he hared up and down the left-flank, always providing an option in attack. Gave Lucas Hernandez a torrid time with his movement. Wasn’t tested defensively.
Ran the show in the middle of the park for the Galacticos. Came close with a shot from distance in the first-half, always available to receive a pass from his teammates, Atletico midfielders struggled to get to grips with him.
Got the assist for Ronaldo’s first goal. A largely disciplined effort from the Brazilian as he screened his defence effectively. One blip where he gave away possession under pressure aside, he was solid and reliable.
Kept the ball well to link the defence and the attack. Always found the time and space to control the tempo of the game with his passing.
Given a free role to drift across the front three. Was almost untouchable in the first-half as he popped up everywhere on the pitch and drove his team forward. Outstanding display, but was taken off with little over 20 minutes left as he ran the risk of picking up a second yellow.
Hit over the bar from an acrobatic effort. Showed great strength to hold off Diego Godin and set Ronaldo up for the second goal.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Opened the scoring with a well-placed header, finished emphatically to double the lead before completing a superb hat-trick. Consecutive hat-tricks in the Champions League and his second of the season against Atleti. Just brilliant.
Came on at half-time for the injured Carvajal. Did a decent job on the right-side of the defence.
Replaced Isco in the 68th minute. Not as effective as he has been in recent weeks.
Replaced Benzema for the last fifteen minutes. Was a lively presence since coming on and did very well to beat Godin and tee up Ronaldo for the third goal.