Ronaldo’s Hat Trick Leads Real in Champions League; City Draws
Cristiano Ronaldo scored three goals to lead Real Madrid to a 4-1 win at Ajax in soccer’s Champions League, as Mario Balotelli’s late penalty kick gave Manchester City a 1-1 home draw with Borussia Dortmund.
Karim Benzema also scored last night as record nine-time champion Real Madrid remained unbeaten after two games in Europe’s elite club competition. It was the second hat trick of the week for Ronaldo, who scored three times in Real’s 5-1 Spanish league win against Deportivo La Coruna four days ago.
“I’m very satisfied because we won while managing to play well,” Ronaldo said on tournament organizer UEFA’s website. “It was a complete game from our point of view and it will fill us with confidence for the coming matches.”
Arsenal, Malaga and Porto also won yesterday to stay unbeaten after two games, while AC Milan ended its six-match Champions League winless run on the road. The third round of the group stage will be played Oct. 23 and 24.
Ronaldo opened the scoring in Amsterdam just before halftime and Benzema increased the Real lead three minutes after the break. Niklas Moisander scored for Ajax in the 56th minute before Ronaldo scored twice in two minutes to seal the win and move atop the competition top scorer’s list with four goals.
“Having two wins and six points at this stage, we can feel a little calmer about things, but not too calm,” Real manager Jose Mourinho said on UEFA’s website. “This group is no joke.”
City got its point following Balotelli’s 89th-minute penalty, which came after a handball at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium. Marco Reus scored in the second half for Dortmund.
“We’ve got to be happy with a point,” City goalkeeper Joe Hart, who made eight saves, told Sky Sports. “I thought Borussia Dortmund were a different class. It took a good defensive effort to keep it at one.”
Hart and counterpart Roman Weidenfeller each made four saves in a scoreless first half, with the City goalkeeper denying Mario Goetze three times.
Reus broke the deadlock in the 61st minute as he picked up an errant pass from Jack Rodwell and burst in to beat Hart with a shot. Hart saved with his foot from Robert Lewandoski, who then fired wide when alone in front of goal.
The miss proved costly when Neven Subotic was called for a handball in the area and Balotelli slid his kick into the corner. The Italian striker is now 11-for-11 from the penalty spot during his career, according to Infostrada Sports.
“If you have a look in the dressing room now, you’ll only see disappointed faces,” Reus said on UEFA’s website. “We proved we can compete at this level.”
Second-half goals from Lukas Podolski and Aaron Ramsey helped Arsenal to a 3-1 home win over Olympiacos in Group B. Gervinho put the Gunners in front just before the break before Kostas Mitroglou answered for the Greek club in first-half stoppage time.
“They made it tough for us,” Arsenal assistant Steve Bould, who took over for suspended manager Arsene Wenger, told Sky Sports. “Overall it was a fantastic result.”
The win leaves Arsenal with six points atop Group B. Schalke is two points back after surrendering a last-minute goal to Souleymane Camara to draw 2-2 with Montpellier, which had Garry Bocaly red-carded early in the second half.
Portuguese midfielder Eliseu scored twice and Joaquin added one goal as Malaga beat Anderlecht 3-0 in Belgium to take the top spot in Group C with six points.
Seven-time champion AC Milan won 3-2 at Zenit St. Petersburg on an own goal from Tomas Hubocan in the 75th minute. The victory ended Zenit’s 17-game unbeaten streak at home in European matches.
Urby Emanuelson and Stephan El Shaaraway also scored for Milan, which has four points in Group C, while Hulk and Roman Skirokov got Zenit’s goals.
James Rodriguez scored in the 83rd minute as Porto beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 to lead Group A with six points. Dynamo Kiev beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 and is tied with PSG for second place with three points.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at email@example.com.