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Champions League: Ronaldo scourge of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid progress to semis

Yet another hat-trick for the Portuguese sensation in a controversial tie at the Santiago Bernabeu!

Prithviraj Dev | New Delhi |

Real Madrid rode their luck to beat Bayern Munich 4-2 at home on Wednesday in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick as the holders progressed to the semifinals 6-3 on aggregate in a tie that went to extra-time on Wednesday at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ronaldo, who had scored his 100th goal in Europe in the first-leg when he notched a brace to give Madrid a 2-1 win in the first leg at the Allianz Arena, took a while to get going in a game which could have gone either way as the hosts squandered a glut of chances in the first-half.

Zinedine Zidane chose to award Isco for his sparkling performance in Los Blancos’ last-gasp win over Sporting Gijon over the weekend, with the talented Spaniard replacing the injured Gareth Bale as the hosts made just one change from the side that beat Bayern last week.

The visitors made several changes of their own, with the fit-again trio of Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Robert Lewandowski all starting.

Yet, it was the hosts who utterly dominated the first-half, hitting Bayern on the counter and looking dangerous each time they broke with pace. Ronaldo was the major reason Madrid didn't score at least two in the first half, twice unable to find a way past Manuel Neuer.

The second-half, however, was turned quickly on its head when Lewandowski converted a 53rd minute penalty to bring Bayern level on aggregate. The Bavarians had begun the second period in a much more positive note and suddenly, were now the dominant team.

Madrid looked bereft of ideas but when Casemiro sent in a cross between Philp Lahm and Boateng, Ronaldo was there to head home past Neuer in the 76th minute. Quite possibly Madrid’s worst player on the pitch up until that point, the 32-year-old proved he can still be decisive when he wants to be with well-timed run and a composed finish. 

Barely two minutes later, Madrid’s celebration turned into despair as Sergio Ramos turned the ball into his own net after getting confused with substitute Thomas Muller’s chest down inside the box.

Already a remarkable game with the late flurry of goals, the tie then took on a controversial turn when referee Viktor Kassai chose to send off Arturo Vidal for a second bookable offence six minutes from regulation time. The Chilean had been skating on thin ice since his booking in the 5th minute, but while his first caution was just, the second was clearly not as he cleanly got the ball while tackling Marco Asensio.

After that, Bayern faded and understandably so, but were hard done by the officials yet again when Ronaldo scored in the 105th minute, as the Portuguese was offside as he headed in Sergio Ramos’ cross.

Bayern now needed two goals to progress and while Arjen Robben continued to make an effort against his former club, Madrid’s numerical superiority was overwhelming and Marcelo danced through half the Bayern team to set up Ronaldo’s third in the 109th minute.

Substitue Asensio, who had a played a key role in the first-leg win, then added gloss to the scoreline, beating Neuer with his right-foot in the 112th minute.

While Bayern will have plenty of complaints from the fact that Ronaldo was offside for at least one if not two of his goals, to the fact that Casemiro should have been sent off for numerous infractions rather than Vidal, the result stands and Madrid continue their quest to become the first team to defend the Champions League in its current format.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, continues to prove that he is still capable of leading the line with an impressive five goal haul over the course of two legs against Bayern.

Madrid’s arch-rivals Atletico Madrid also progressed to the semfinals, drawing 1-1 away to Leicester City to progress 2-1 on aggregate.