Ronaldo hat-trick leaves Real Madrid on brink of final

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Real Madrid dominated Atletico Madrid and put three goals past Diego Simeone’s side for a second time this season after the league derby victory last November. Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a hat trick to essentially seal Real’s place in the Champions League final for a second consecutive season.

Positives

Real came out firing and peppered Jan Oblak’s goal with 10 of the side’s 17 attempts coming in the opening 25 minutes. It was also the perfect stage to secure a first Champions League clean sheet of the season.

Negatives

It’s difficult to find any in a performance that completely nullified Antoine Griezmann and made one of Europe’s finest defences look amateurish. If anything, Real should have won by more and that may yet come back to bite them in the behind: Atleti put four past Bayer Leverkusen in the first knock-out round but barring a dodgy paella before next Wednesday, Madrid can start looking at hotels in the Welsh capital.

Manager rating out of 10

8 — Zinedine Zidane was grateful to Nacho’s versatility with Danilo not among the substitutes, which sums up the Brazilian full-back’s standing at the moment. The Real boss chose a good moment to sling on Marco Asensio to make Lucas Hernandez’s task even more onerous, which in turn freed up Ronaldo to be in the middle when the ball fell for the Portuguese to score Real’s second. His third sub, Lucas Vazquez, was instrumental in the third goal.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Keylor Navas, 7 — Made an excellent stop to deny Kevin Gameiro in the first half and one wayward clearance aside the keeper did little wrong in a quieter game than he will have expected.

DF Dani Carvajal, 7 — A constant attacking threat and dealt with everything thrown at him by Atleti’s attack, Carvajal’s evening was cut short by injury and he was replaced at half-time.

DF Sergio Ramos, 8 — The captain failed to check Gameiro’s run but otherwise he was imperious with three aerials and five tackles won while also troubling Atleti’s defence at the other end.

DF Raphael Varane, 8 — Went close with a powerful header clawed out by Oblak at 1-0 and covered Stefan Savic with an impressive leap when the Atleti defender was primed to test Navas, in an all-round commanding performance.

DF Marcelo, 7 — Under orders not to take unnecessary risks, Marcelo covered his flank and was incisive on the front foot, starting the move for Real’s third and giving Lucas a torrid time on Atleti’s right while putting in a notable shift at the back.

MF Casemiro, 6 — Will be credited with an assist for Ronaldo’s opener but with an asterisk. Casemiro took one of football’s least palatable knocks, a Diego Godin-Ramos elbow sandwich, but soldiered on. A little off target in his distribution, he atoned for that with a combative defensive performance.

MF Luka Modric, 6 — Struggled to get into the game in the first half but rasped a shot just wide. After the break, Modric improved as Real got the upper hand in midfield and his distribution was neat and tidy per usual.

MF Toni Kroos, 8 — Kroos’ set pieces wreaked havoc on the Atleti defence and his passing was impeccable. The German rolled up his sleeves when necessary and got stuck in with three tackles in a game where most of Real’s midfield traffic went through the No. 8.

Cristiano Ronaldo produced another masterpiece in a big game, bagging his second straight UCL hat trick to down Ateltico.

FW Isco, 6 — This game highlighted the Isco conundrum. The mercurial Malagueno needs a system to fit him, not the other way around. Dropping deep too often to pull the strings around the area, this was a battling performance rather than one dusted with his recent magic and his final ball was often astray. Isco had to walk a fine line after a caution for tripping Lucas and was substituted on 68 minutes.

FW Karim Benzema, 6 — Almost scored from a rebound in a lively opening 30 minutes capped by an acrobatic effort that inched wide. Although Benzema faded again after the break, he put in some good centre-forward work to make the opening for Ronaldo’s second.

FW Cristiano Ronaldo, 10 — Another header worthy of a pure No. 9 opened the scoring and Ronaldo hammered in a second that was well-taken under pressure. His hat trick made it eight goals in three European games — five against Bayern and three on the night. The “big game bottler” uncorked a few in Madrid on Tuesday.

Substitutes

DF Nacho, 8 — On for Carvajal at half-time, Nacho had one game as a right-back under his belt this season and has played there just 16 times in his senior Real Madrid career. That Carvajal wasn’t missed says it all.

MF Marco Asensio, 7 — On for Isco, Asensio provided his usual service of pulling the opposition defence apart and it was no coincidence that the second and third went in after his introduction.

FW Lucas Vazquez, NR — On for Benzema, his energy and application reaped its reward with an assist for Ronaldo’s hat trick.

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