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Real Madrid 3-0 Apoel: Cristiano Ronaldo bags a brace before Sergio Ramos scores with overhead kick in routine win for Champions League holders
Cristiano Ronaldo took just 12 minutes to mark his return to the Real Madrid side with a goal as the holders made light work of Cypriot champions Apoel in a 3-0 win.
Ronaldo was his usual rambunctious self, later raging against the goal-line referee when he correctly adjudged his shot had not crossed the line and smashing in a penalty moments later.
Ronaldo’s first goal was made by Gareth Bale, who also played a part in Ronaldo’s second and Sergio Ramos' spectacular third. When he was taken off with 10 minutes left the overwhelming response was applause. But there were also a few whistles.
It wasn’t really the night for any of the home supporters to be unsatisfied. Marco Asensio had ruled himself out before the game with an infected his leg caused by cutting a pimple with a razor. It was the only close shave as Madrid moved to the top of Group H without problems.
Isco began the move for the first goal when he cleared a path for himself down the left before finding Bale. He drilled the ball low across the face of the goal to Ronaldo who converted at the back post.
Mateo Kovacic was taken off with an abductor injury midway through the first half and Toni Kroos was slow to replace him – still taping up his shin pads as the clock ticked.
But Madrid were comfortable, even with a man down.
Ramos then upended Igor de Camargo underneath the referee’s but the point he often makes about being shown more leniency by European referees was born out when he was not even spoken to.
Bale almost made the second for Ronaldo on the half hour when from Kroos’ pass his volleyed left foot cross ran invitingly infront of the Portuguese on the edge of the six-yard box. Ronaldo failed to connect and the chance was gone.
At the start of the second half Ronaldo was convinced he had scored a second. His shot had come down off the crossbar and he ran to the line referee who pointed at his wristwatch. There had been no bleep to confirm the ball had crossed the line. Replays showed it hadn’t and Ronaldo was denied. But not for long
When Bale crossed from the left the ball bounced up and hit Roberto Lago on the shoulder. There were several appeals for handball and they swayed the referee who pointed to the spot. Once Ronaldo had buried the spot kick Madrid began to smell the big scoreline most had expected.
Ramos started and finished the third goal. He won the ball and nudged it forward to Marcelo who charged down the left. Bale nodded the deep cross towards Ramos and he bicycle-kicked it past the keeper Boy Waterman.
Madrid always win their first Champions League group game and now the only question was by how many. Ronaldo grabbed what he thought was a hat-trick but he was correctly ruled offside.