Home / sports / Real Madrid cruise past Galatasaray in Champions League

Real Madrid cruise past Galatasaray in Champions League

Madrid (IANS): Real Madrid were able to forget the absence of top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo to defeat Turkish side Galatasaray 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium Wednesday.

With this win, Real Madrid finish top of their Champions League qualifying group and thus assure a theoretically easier draw when the knockout stage of the competition kicks off in the New Year, Xinhua reported.

Although Ronaldo was not on the pitch as a result of a muscle injury, he was present in the stands, as the Real Madrid fans unveiled a banner in support of the club’s continued campaign to try and win him the FIFA Balon D’Or award.

Around 45,000 face masks were also given out before kick off in a slightly surreal gesture to add more weight to the pro-Ronaldo campaign.

Perhaps the best evidence of Ronaldo’s importance came in the first half when Madrid dominated the ball, but struggled to cause problems for Galatasaray goalkeeper Eray Iscan.

Without Ronaldo, the responsibility to scoring goals was given to Gareth Bale and youngster, Jese Rodriguez, but while Jese failed to show his quality, Bale opened the scoring with a 30-yard free kick, which beat Iscan in the 37th minute.

The Galatasaray keeper was slow to react against a shot which may have changed trajectory after touching the defensive wall, but the fact is the ball entered in the middle of his goal and Iscan could have done more.

By then Real Madrid had been reduced to 10 men after Sergio Ramos had been sent off for a foul on Galatasaray striker Umut Bulut.

Bulut levelled the score just a minute later, drilling a low shot past Iker Casillas in what was virtually his side’s first shot on target in the game.

Madrid’s second goal came through an unlikely source as defender Alvaro Arbeloa, whose weak left foot shot from an Angel Di Maria shot was enough to beat Iscan.

He returned the favour after 63 minutes setting up Di Maria to score Madrid’s third goal of the game, before Isco, who had been slightly subdued during the game, netted Madrid’s fourth in the 81st minute.

Meanwhile, Real Sociedad said goodbye to Europe as the result of a 4-0 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.

Luis Alberto, Alex Teixeira and Douglas Costa, on two occasions, gave Shakhtar the win, which means they will reach the last 16 if they can win away to Manchester United in the final group game.

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