Champions League: Real Madrid stroll to their first win against Liverpool
Real Madrid earned their first-ever win over Liverpool with a 3-0 Champions League victory at Anfield on Wednesday.
A wondrous Cristiano Ronaldo goal spearheaded a display that appeared as classy as it was dominant.
Ronaldo’s glorious 23rd minute strike and a double from Karim Benzema sealed the champions’ triumph before halftime, leaving Real’s Portuguese icon one goal away from equalling Raul's all-time goal scoring record.
He insisted that his side were in the mood to become the first team in the Champions League era to successfully defend the title.
“We know it’ll be very tough but we know it’s possible if we play like that,” said Ronaldo, after scoring his 70th Champions League goal.
“I’m not worried about that (Raul’s record). I know I’m going to beat his record today or another game. Me and Messi (69 goals) are very close,” said Ronaldo.
Two goals away from over taking Raul's Champions League record. Photo AFP.
The roar of one of Europe’s most vociferous crowds contributed to a bright start for the hosts, as they hoped to see Liverpool improve on their three-game, 100 percent record over Real in European competition.
But it was muted once Ronaldo scored the brilliant opener.
There looked to be little cause for alarm as Ronaldo flitted around in midfield and passed to James Rodriguez, who was surrounded by red shirts.
Yet a delightful, dinked pass somehow picked out Ronaldo again and his first-time finish, taken early almost on the half-volley, was exquisite.
It proved the signal for Real to take over and Liverpool’s suspect defence began to lose concentration under pressure.
Liverpool should have cleared their lines long before Benzema’s precise, looping header from Toni Kroos’s cross effectively put the game beyond their reach.
Benzema celebrated his first goal by becoming an airplane. Photo: AFP
The third was a scrappy, messy affair, with Liverpool again guilty of missing a couple of opportunities to clear a corner before the ball fell obligingly for Benzema to nudge home his second.
After Philippe Coutinho almost pulled one back with a searing shot which hit the post, Liverpool were resigned to having to claw back a three-goal deficit in a Champions League match for the first time since they did just that against AC Milan in the 2005 Istanbul final.
Real manager Carlo Ancelotti, in charge of the Milan side which threw away that lead, was not about to let history repeat itself.
“No I forgot this,” he said, when asked about that Istanbul night.
“I told the players that in football anything can happen. I know really well these (Liverpool) supporters. I told my players to stay focused for the second half.”
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