Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray, 2013 UEFA Champions League: Final score 3-0, Merengues punish wasteful Galatasaray

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Real Madrid gained a crushing victory over Galatasaray at the Bernabeu that sees the Turks all but out of the competition, although there was late controversy as the visitors were denied a clear penalty.

Real Madrid are all but through to the semi-finals after overcoming Galatasaray 3-0 at the Bernabeu, but although the hosts took their chances well and largely dominated the game, there was more than a hint of fortune about their victory, or at least the size of their lead.

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Cristiano Ronaldo versus Albert Riera was always going to be a mismatch down the visitors' left flank, and it proved to be the case when the Portuguese winger opened the scoring to nudge himself ahead of his opponent, Burak Yilmaz, as the top scorer in the competition. It was a wonderful pass from Mesut Ozil to set him up, slicing the Galatasaray defence in two for Ronaldo to lift a brilliant lob over Fernando Muslera and into the far corner of the net.

Galatasaray's gameplan was obvious from their team selection - a back four shielded by a tight midfield three, with a dangerous but narrow front three ahead of them, hoping to steal a goal on the counter-attack. Although Wesley Sneijder was a peripheral figure at best against Sami Khedira, the pairing of Yilmaz and Didier Drogba showed some promise, and not long after Ronaldo's opener the Ivorian made short work of Raphael Varane, turning the youngster with ease but wastefully firing a wild shot high and wide.

Yet despite their forwards looking dangerous, the rest of Galatasaray's side could not do their part of the job. Michael Essien was a big threat for Madrid when overlapping Ronaldo, given the narrow shape of the visitors, and he proved to be the source of the second goal that left Cim Bom Bom in real danger, curling in a fine cross for Karim Benzema to produce an expert control and finish at the back post.

Galatasaray were down but not out, and Didier Drogba soon rolled back the years to create a pair of chances. His first, breezing down the wing before chipping in a fine ball for Yilmaz, but the Turk mishit his volley wide. Just after, Drogba again used his strength as a focal point for the visitors attack, playing a one-two with Emmanuel Eboue to allow the fullback to burst into the area and catch the Madrid defence by surprise, but his finish was too close to Diego Lopez, and the chance was wasted.

Fatih Terim made the brave decision at half-time to withdraw the anonymous Wesley Sneijder and switch to a 3-5-2, a move that made plenty of sense and appeared to yield some benefits for the visitors. They did appear to look more confident in defence, although after a reasonably promising start to the second half, Madrid began to increase their pressure.

Cristiano Ronaldo first went close with an effort from range that was sweetly struck but too close to Muslera, before Angel Di Maria was released with a beautiful pass from Xabi Alonso, only to tap a tame finish straight at the goalkeeper.

Galatasaray would still have had hopes of finding a goal, and a 2-1 defeat would not have been a bad result by any means, but they were soon left all but out of it when Gonzalo Higuain put Madrid 3-0 up. It was a set-piece that produced the goal, the excellent Alonso curling in another excellent delivery for the substitute Higuain to steal ahead of Dany Nouenkeu and flick the ball past Muslera.

Although Galatasaray had had much of the game, their poor defending and finishing meant they could only have themselves to blame for finding themselves with such a deficit. That was not the case for the next incident, however - Burak Yilmaz was in space in the area when Sergio Ramos trod on his foot to stop him, only for the referee to book Yilmaz for diving, which will add insult to injury as it keeps the free-scoring striker out of the second leg.

There was another suspension to follow, this time for Real Madrid when Sergio Ramos entered the book for a daft challenge that will keep him out of the second leg - almost too daft, in fact, and given Mourinho's form for instructing his players to pick up deliberate yellow cards to get suspensions out of the way, that seemed the most likely explanation.

In the end, the third goal appeared to kill off Galatasaray's hope and motivation, and some classic Mourinho spoiling tactics allowed Real Madrid to see out the victory and the clean sheet in comfortable fashion. Only a miracle can save Galatasaray now - and without Burak Yilmaz at that. This tie appears to be essentially over.

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