Real Madrid's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo (right) celebrates scoring the 3-0 during the UEFA Champions League semi-final match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
Real Madrid's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo (right) celebrates scoring the 3-0 during the UEFA Champions League semi-final match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. CHEMA MOYA

Ronaldo destroys Atletico with semi-final hat-trick

FOOTBALL: Cristiano Ronaldo proved Atletico Madrid's Champions League dream destroyer once more with a hat-trick as Real Madrid took a commanding 3-0 semi-final, first leg lead.

Ronaldo extended his lead as the all-time top scorer in Madrid derby matches by taking his tally to 21 and put Real firmly on course to defend its title in the final in Cardiff on June 3.

The Portuguese rewarded a bright Real start by heading home Casemiro's deflected cross after just 10 minutes.

Ronaldo then smashed home from just inside the area and turned home Lucas Vazquez's cross in the final 20 minutes as Real continued its domination of Atletico having eliminated it in the Champions League for the past three seasons.

"Goalscoring is something he has over others, that is what makes him unique," Real coach Zinedine Zidane said.

"We played great, it is not easy to score three goals (against Atletico).

"The first half hour was fantastic, we had a lot of chances to score the second, but we got it in the second-half.

"We are very happy with the performance. To score three goals and most importantly in a (two-legged) tie keep a clean sheet at home is very important."

There were contrasting emotions for Atletico boss Simeone.

However, he refused to give up hope of a miraculous comeback on what will be the final European match at Atletico's Vicente Calderon next Wednesday (May 10) before the club moves to a new stadium next season.

"More than ever I am calm," said Simeone.

"We have to do something impossible and being Atletico Madrid we might be capable of it."

News Corp Australia


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