Photo: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Real Madrid triumphed 3-0 here Wednesday over Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of a Champions League quarterfinal clash, taking a giant step toward avenging their loss to the German club in last year’s semis.
Blancos striker Cristiano Ronaldo, playing his 100th Champions League match, scored his 14th goal of the current edition of the European tourney, equaling the mark set in 2011-2012 by Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
Dortmund, which went on to lose in the 2013 final to Bayern Munich, faces a nearly impossible task in next week’s second leg as it tries to block Real Madrid’s path to what would be a record 10th Champions League crown.
Even so, the Spanish club will not take the match lightly, given its own unlucky history in Germany and the fact that Dortmund’s top striker, Robert Lewandowski, is set to return from a suspension.
The visitors threatened within the first minute of Wednesday’s match at the Santiago Bernabeu, but found themselves trailing 1-0 at the 3-minute mark after Gareth Bale beat Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.
While the early strike knocked Dortmund back on their heels, Weidenfeller made an outstanding save on a Ronaldo free kick in the 12th minute to keep the contest within reach.
The second blow came in the 27th minute, when Xabi Alonso snagged a ball in Dortmund’s end and fed it to Isco Alarcon - in for the ailing Angel di Maria - who scored with a low shot.
Dortmund showed signs of threatening again in the opening minutes of the second half, until Ronaldo converted on a great pass from Luka Modric to make it 3-0 in the 57th minute.
Wednesday’s other quarterfinal featured Paris Saint-Germain hosting Chelsea.
PSG jumped out to an early lead thanks to a goal by Ezequiel Lavezzi in the 4th minute.
Eden Hazard equalized for the Blues in the 27th minute, converting on a penalty after Thiago Silva fouled Oscar in the area.
The score stayed knotted until the 61st minute, when Chelsea’s David Luiz inadvertently sent the ball sailing into his own side’s net.
The final goal came in extra time, as Javier Pastore dribbled past a flatfooted Chelsea defense and slipped the ball under the outstretched hands of Blues keeper Petr Cech.