Kai…16 goals in 10 UEFA Champions League matches! Oh Lord…who is this guy? ?? It’s been always official – Ororo is awesome! !!…He just saved hearts inside the Bernabeu and won some more hearts across the world! A nice hattrick from the spartan Ronaldo just helped Real Madrid overturn a 2-nil deficit to make them qualify for this season’s UCL semifinals. …whew!. (Meanwhile, our very own Kelechi Iheanacho is gonna play in the UCL semifinals too #halaManCity …yum!)
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid qualified for the semi-finals of the Champions League with a 3-0 victory over Wolfsburg in the second leg of their last-eight clash at the Bernabeu.
The Spanish giants entered Tuesday’s match trailing by two goals in the quarter-final tie after their shock 2-0 defeat at the Volkswagen Arena last week.
However, a brilliant treble from Ronaldo, who has now scored 16 Champions League goals this season, helped Los Blancos make the final four of the competition for the sixth successive season.
Raphael Varane was fit to return to the Real Madrid squad, but Zinedine Zidane kept faith with Sergio Ramos and Pepe in central defence, with Dani Carvajal for Danilo the only change from the first leg last week.
Further forward, Casemiro was once again preferred to both Isco and James Rodriguez in midfield, while Karim Benzema was fit to return from a knee problem to start in attack alongside Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
As for Wolfsburg, head coach Dieter Hecking kept faith with the team that won at the Volkswagen Arena last week. That meant a centre-forward role forAndre Schurrle and attacking positions for Julian Draxler and Maximilian Arnold.
Naldo returned from a shoulder problem for the first leg and kept his place at the heart of the defence, while Bruno Henrique, who impressed on his Champions League debut, also started for the German outfit.
Real Madrid, who started firmly on the front foot, had a chance to make the breakthrough in the sixth minute when Ramos angled a header towards the far post, but the Spanish international’s effort hit the top of the woodwork in what was an early warning for the Bundesliga club.
The home side were ahead on the night in the 16th minute, however, when Carvajal’s low cross deflected into the path of Ronaldo, who simply could not pass up the chance to half the deficit in the quarter-final.
Less than two minutes later, Real Madrid and indeed Ronaldo had their second. This time it came from a Toni Kroos corner, which the Portuguese headed into the bottom corner to stun the visitors and wipe out their advantage.
Wolfsburg’s first attempt on goal came in the 27th minute when Luiz Gustavostruck one from distance, but it was always comfortable for Keylor Navas, who got down to make the save.
Down the other end, Benzema looked to beat Diego Benaglio with a low strike, but the Frenchman’s effort lacked direction and it remained 2-2 on aggregate entering the final 15 minutes of the first period at the Bernabeu.
Wolfsburg lost Draxler to an injury in the 32nd minute, but Max Kruse‘s introduction seemed to help the visitors and only a wonderful save from Navas prevented Gustavo from finding the back of the net with a rasping strike.
Henrique then had a wonderful chance for Wolfsburg after finding time and space inside the Real Madrid box, but the attacker’s low strike was blocked behind for a corner during the away side’s best spell of the first period.
The Bundesliga outfit continued to impress in the final moments of the first 45 minutes and had another half-chance through Schurrle, but Real Madrid held firm to enter the half-time break with a 2-0 lead on the night.
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A succession of Real Madrid corners early in the second period put Wolfsburg’s defence under severe pressure, but Ronaldo and Ramos both had attempts blocked as the visitors managed to survive a third goal.
A super piece of work from Henrique set up Schurrle in the 53rd minute as the visitors came close to their first of the night, but the former Chelsea attacker could only curl his effort over the crossbar.
Bale was next to come close for the home side following another spell of pressure, but the Welshman’s sliced effort missed the target as it remained 2-2 on aggregate with little over 30 minutes of the second leg to play in Madrid.
A low Modric cross almost caught out Wolfsburg goalkeeper Benaglio after a deflection from Josuha Guilavogui, but the stopper made another smart save, before Bale just failed to make contact on a deep Marcelo corner.
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In the 66th minute, it looked for all the world as if Ramos had sent Real Madrid into a 3-2 aggregate lead when his header angled towards the bottom corner, but the ball hit the post and rolled across the line, before Benaglio collected.
Dante was next to come close for Wolfsburg after meeting a wicked free kick from Ricardo Rodriguez, but the Brazilian headed straight into the arms of Navas, who was quick to release the ball down-field.
Real Madrid had their all-important third in the 77th minute when Ronaldo fired a brilliant free kick into the bottom corner after Gustavo had brought Modric to the ground in a dangerous position.
The home side might well have had a fourth in the 81st minute when Benzema curled one towards the far corner, but the brilliant Benaglio was across to make the stop, before the stopper kept out Jese Rodriguez five minutes later.
Real Madrid continued to search for another in the latter stages, but it finished 3-0 on the night as the Spanish giants joined Manchester City in the final four of the European competition.
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