Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace to power Real Madrid past Borussia Dortmund 3-1 on Tuesday night in Champions League Group H action at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund.
The Portuguese superstar struck with a pair of goals in the second-half to earn Los Blancos their first ever win in front of Dortmund’s famed Yellow Wall Dortmund in seven tries. Gareth Bale also opened his Champions League account for the season with a wonderfully struck shot in the first-half. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyand gave Dortmund hope in the second-half, but Real’s attack would prove to be too much in the end.
Real boss Zinedine Zidane’s starting XI was as expected, meaning Marco Asensio once again was on the bench when the initial whistle sounded.
Dortmund came out playing a high line and so the chance for Real to spring a counter was just a question of time. It came on the match’s first chance almost 10 minutes in when Dani Carvajal bore down on goal, but instead of crossing for Ronaldo or Bale, the full-back went at it alone, and Roman Burki made the save. Minutes later Ronaldo beat the high line but couldn’t connect with Bale on a cross.
That pressure from Dortmund also led to chances for the Black and Yellows and if Andriy Yarmolenko’s cross had been a tough lower, Aubameyang would have easily nodded a header into goal. Instead, the ball flew to Maxi Philipp, whose shot was cleared off the line by Sergio Ramos, however replays showed that the ball struck the hand of Ramos, yet the call was missed by Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers.
The back and forth continued, and at the third time of asking Real would strike. From the right Carvajal floated a cross to Bale, who thundered in a one-timer to give Los Blancos a 1-0 lead.
Dortmund looked more comfortable as the half wore on and started to carve out a few decent looks at goal. But the threat of Real was always lurking and with some better finishing Ronaldo could have had a goal before half-time but saw an effort blocked and then another miss the target.
Some selfishness from Yarmolenko could have pulled Dortmund level at the start of the second-half when he beat the offside trap and had only Navas to beat, but instead the Ukrainian header to Aubameyang at the far post was cleared by Raphael Varane.
The hosts would rue their missed chances, and Ronaldo made it look easy in scoring Real’s second when he anticipated a run and polished off a cross from Bale from the left with a fine left-footed finish to increase the lead to 2-0.
Real let their guard down though after the Ronaldo goal, and soon enough Dortmund had pulled one back, 2-1, when Aubameyang beat Ramos and stabbed in Julian Castro’s cross from the left.
Dortmund boss Peter Bosz rolled the dice and made two offensive changes at the hour mark, bringing on Julian Weigl and Mahmoud Dahoud for Nuri Sahin and Jeremy Toljan, respectively, and shifting to a three-man back line.
While Dortmund were cooking up chances, a lethal counter-attack was always one touch away for Real and Isco almost dealt the hammer blow but skied a shot over the crossbar and then had a low-driven stinger saved by Burki.
Zidane made his first change with 15 minutes to go swapping off Isco for Marco Asensio, while World Cup winner Mario Gotze was replaced by United States international Christian Pulisic.
But there was only one man who could truly shut the door on Dortmund’s comeback attempt, and Ronaldo duly obliged when he received a Luka Modric pass on the right and fired in past Burki at the near post to complete the 3-1 scoreline.
Real resume LaLiga action on Sunday at home versus Espanyol.
– Match facts:
1.- Borussia Dortmund: Burki; Piszczek, Papastho, Toprak, Tolian (Dahoud, min. 60); Castro, Sahin (Weigl, min. 60); Gotze (Pulisic, min. 76), Yarmolenko, Philipp; Aubameyang.
3.- Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Nacho; Modric (Dani Ceballos, min. 91), Casemiro, Kroos, Isco (Asensio, min. 76); Ronaldo, Bale (Lucas Vazquez, min. 86)
Goals: 0-1, min. 18: Bale; 0-2, min. 49: Ronaldo; 1-2, min. 54: Aubameyang; 1-3, min. 79: Ronaldo
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands).
Yellow Cards: Bale (Min. 29) for Real Madrid, Carvajal (Min. 39) for Real Madrid, Modric (Min. 40) for Real Madrid, Weigl (Min. 63) for Borussia Dortmund