Real Madrid on course for another Champions League final


May 03, 2017
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (right) celebrates with teammate Sergio Ramos after scoring the opening goal during the Champions League semifinals first leg soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, yesterday. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)


Another impressive performance by Cristiano Ronaldo has left Real Madrid on the verge of another Champions League final.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to reach 400 goals with Madrid and lead the defending champions to a commanding 3-0 win over city rival Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.

He scored with a header in the 10th minute, with a strike into the top corner in the 73rd and a close-range shot in the 86th to give Madrid a comfortable lead going into next week's second leg at Atletico's Vicente Calderon Stadium.

Monaco host Juventus in the first leg of the other semi-final today.

Madrid, which is looking to reach its third final in four seasons, was in control from the start at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Ronaldo opened the scoring after Atletico's defence failed to fully clear a cross into the area. Midfielder Casemiro sent the ball back in with a bouncing shot and Ronaldo got ahead of defender Stefan Savic to nod it past Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Ronaldo, Madrid's all-time scoring leader, added to the lead after Atletico defender Filipe Luis lost the ball in a challenge with the Portugal star, who entered the area and fired a right-foot shot past Oblak into the upper corner.

He scored his 10th Champions League goal of the season with a low shot from inside the area after a pass by Lucas Vazquez.

Ronaldo now has 103 goals in the Champions League, not counting the one he scored in the qualifiers, which is three more than Atletico has scored since the new format was created in 1992.

The cross-town rivals are meeting for the fourth consecutive time in the top European club competition.

Madrid, which won its record 11th-title last year, is trying to become the first team to win back-to-back Champions League titles since the competition's new format began.

Tuesday's loss at the Bernabeu was the first for Atletico in 16 away games. Simeone's team had kept nine clean sheets in its last 13 games in all competitions, conceding only four goals.

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