Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a Michael Essien started as Real Madrid recorded a 4-1 win over Ajax Amsterdam in their Champions League tie at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday night.
Karim Benzema scored the other goal for the Whites while Ajax’s only goal came from Niklas Mosainder.
Ajax created the first threat in the 3rd minute as Derk Boerrigter skinned Alvaro Arbeloa on the left before playing the ball across the six-yard box, but none of his teammates were able to get to the ball.
From there it was all Real Madrid as Ronaldo forced a great save from Kenneth Vermeer in the 13th minute, before the goalkeeper was forced to pull off a double-save two minutes later to deny Kaka and Benzema.Then in the 31st minute Iker Casillas failed to clear a cross from Christian Eriksen, allowing Ricardo Van Rhijn to connect at the far post, but his header went over the crossbar.
Ronaldo then had another golden chance to open the scoring in the 36th minute when he was picked out by a brilliant cross from Kaka, but he sent his header straight at the goalkeeper before Marcelo forced another save three minutes later.
The opening goal arrived three minutes before the break when Benzema went on a great run on the left before playing the ball across for Ronaldo to tap home.
The lead was doubled three minutes after the break when Benzema connected with a cross from Kaka to beat the goalkeeper with an acrobatic finish.
However, the hosts managed to pull one goal back in the 56th minute as Eriksen’s corner found Moisander unmarked at the far post, and he managed to get his header past an exposed Casillas.
Frank de Boer’s side then started to look like the stronger side and in the 62nd minute Daley Blind went on a great run on the left before finding Eriksen at the near post, but his first time shot went just wide of the upright.
The best chance for the equaliser came six minutes later as Ryan Babel delivered a dangerous low cross from the right which just missed Siem de Jong at the near post before substitute Daniel Hoesen sent his shot over the bar at the far post.
After soaking up that pressure, Jose Mourinho’s men then took the game away as Ronaldo scored two goals in two minutes to complete his hat-trick.The Portuguese forward placed a brilliant right-footed curled at the far post in the 79th minute before lobbing the ball over the goalkeeper two minutes later.