Tuesday 23 January 2018 / 11:13 PM

Madrid All But Through

Real Madrid all but booked their place in the semi-finals of this year’s Champions League after cruising to a consummate 3-0 win over Galatasaray at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday evening.


Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain secured a somewhat routine first leg victory for Los Merengues who dominated their Turkish opponents from the off.


Boss Jose Mourinho witnessed his side hit the front inside the first ten minutes as Mezut Ozil sparked a glorious move which was finished off by Ronaldo – the Portuguese star lifting the ball audaciously over Galatasaray keeper Fernando Muslera who was set there on for a busy night.


Madrid doubled their lead shortly before the half hour mark when Benzema took advantage of some lapse defending from the visitors who failed to deal with a speculative cross from makeshift right back Michael Essien.


The Frenchman slotted home stylishly past Muslera for 2-0 and the seal was put on Real’s triumph sixteen minutes from time when Argentine forward Higuain headed a decisive third.


Madrid can now head to the Turk Telecom Arena in relative comfort knowing that it will take something quite exceptional from Galatasaray to turn matters around.


The same can be said for the feat facing PSG ahead of their second leg against Barcelona at the Nou Camp – despite the fact they held the Catalan giants to a tremendous 2-2 draw in the French capital on Tuesday night.


Blaise Matuidi’s fortunate strike deep into stoppage time levelled proceedings at the Parc Des Princes after Barca appeared on course to take a lead back to Spain following goals from Lionel Messi and Xavi who netted from the penalty spot.


The result was a fair reflection of the game overall considering that PSG were unlucky to have rattled the post early in the first half – and the French champions were a constant nuisance to Barca with midfield stalwart David Beckham shining for 60 minutes having been handed an unlikely start.


Bayern Munich found life a little easier on Tuesday against Juventus after they opened the scoring 25 seconds in to their encounter at the Allianz Arena.


David Alaba’s quick-fire strike understandably put the Bianconeri well and truly on the back foot – and Bayern scored a potentially crucial second through Thomas Muller on 63 minutes.


Juventus did their best to push for an away goal but were ultimately denied leaving the Germans firmly in the driving seat going in to the second leg in Turin.


Malaga vs. Borussia Dortmund completed the quarter-final line-up and the two sides scrapped out a 0-0 draw at La Rosaleda on Wednesday evening.


Dortmund began the tie as heavy favourites to progress but were wasteful on a number of occasions in pursuit of victory as the Spaniards held out to give themselves a chance of causing an upset at the half way point.


The last eight phase of this season’s Champions League reaches a conclusion next week when the second leg fixtures take place on April 10/11.

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Chris Kisby

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