Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo created history by becoming the first player to score in all six UEFA Champions League group-stage games as he scored in Los Blancos’ thrilling 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real, who had already secured their progress to the knockouts, powered into a two-goal lead on Wednesday night courtesy of goals from Borja Mayoral and their talisman—Ronaldo.
The Portuguese forward, who is the tournament’s all-time top scorer, initiated a move which Mayoral finished off in the 8th minute.
And four minutes later, Ronaldo would register his ninth European goal of the season with a trademark cut-in and shot from the left which curled past a hapless Roman Burkl into the top corner.
Dortmund, who had been under pressure after an underwhelming start to their domestic and continental campaigns, were reeling from going two goals down so early in the game but managed to recover and started to test Real’s defence.
American starlet Christian Pulisic was Dortmund’s brightest player on the pitch, effortlessly weaving past defenders before setting up a team-mate with a pass, but Die Borussen struggled to beat Keylor Navas in the Real goal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has been linked with a move away from Dortmund in January after several disciplinary issues, was guilty of a few misses but would eventually redeem himself with a diving header three minutes before the interval to reduce the deficit.
Dortmund’s goal had given them some much-needed impetus and they would be level within minutes of the restart. Aubameyang was slipped in for a one-on-one and as the Real defence appealed for offside, the Gabonese striker managed to beat Navas on the second attempt to notch his fourth UEFA Champions League goal of the season.
Ronaldo had a chance to extend his season’s tally and put the hosts back in front soon after when Isco teed him up inside the box, but the prolific forward uncharacteristically put the chance wide.
Zinedine Zidane sent on Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente as the holders sought a third goal.
And the Bernabeu thought Ronaldo had scored the winner with 10 minutes left in the tie when he converted from close range but the match officials ruled out the goal for offside, much to the disbelief of the home crowd and the Portuguese forward.
Real weren’t to be denied, however, and Lucas Vazquez scored a with an outside-of-the-boot volley to give Los Blancos their European fourth win of the season.
Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur had already secured top spot in Group H, but their 3-0 win over Apoel Nicosia on Wednesday did Dortmund a huge favour as the German side qualified for the UEFA Europa league by finishing third in their group courtesy of their super head-to-head record over the Cypriot team.
For Real, whose UEFA Champions League and La Liga title defences haven’t gotten off to the best of starts, the win will be a massive morale-booster, especially if one considers the number of regulars they rested against the Bundesliga outfit.