Real Madrid got their UEFA Champions League campaign off to a brilliant start with a 4-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk at the Santiago Bernabeau. Cristiano Ronaldo made history by not only scoring his third champions league hat trick, but he became the tournament’s all-time scoring leader with 80 goals, taking him three past arch rival Lionel Messi..
Scoring twice from the spot and once off a header from open play, Ronaldo is removing himself from the shadow of Messi and it’s exciting to see if he will surpass the “first” greatest player in the game.
This was expected to be a tough match but it lived up to its billing for only about a half, as a red card to Taras Stepanenko and a dreadful error by keeper Andriy Pyatov ended the game as a contest. Shakhtar, proud but greatly diminished from last season with the loss of Douglas Costa to Bayern, did put on a decent show before wilting once reduced to 10 men against the Spanish giants.
Marcio Azevedo had the first real chance of the game in which he should have done better with. He scuffed his shot wide in the sixth minute when he should have passed the ball to his runner, but it was a warning for Keylor Navas and manager Rafa Benitez, and the former Liverpool boss was immediately out of his dugout to organize his side.
For a time, Shakhtar proved to be quite good at keeping the ball once they had it, using Fred and Alex Teixeira to pivot the attack, and sending fullbacks Dario Srna and Azevedo rampaging forward on Navas’ net. But they lacked cutting edge in front of the net, and soon Real made them pay.
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