Real Madrid 3 Galatasaray 0: Cristiano Ronaldo puts Spanish giants closer to Jose Mourinho's dream finale at Wembley

Madrid will see this as an easing-up before the semi-finals – the stage at which they fell last season

The Bernabeu

It was more Easy Street than the Road to Wembley last night for Jose Mourinho as his Real Madrid side put their passage into the Champions League semi-finals almost beyond doubt with a resounding first-leg victory.

“They need a miracle but in football there are miracles that happen,” said Mourinho. “We have to have that in mind when we go there. But we know if we score one then they will need five.”

The Portuguese manager had noted before the game that many of Galatasaray’s players had big game and big club experience but a back four containing former Arsenal full-back Emmanuel Eboué and one time Liverpool winger Albert Riera creaked every time Real Madrid went forward and crumbled three times.

Didier Drogba, not 100 per cent by his own recent admission, did his best to test the home side’s defence but he was up against a defensive partnership of Raphaël Varane and Sergio Ramos which – unlike the man who did so much to ensure Chelsea won the Champions League last season – looks to have years ahead of it.

The Turkish champions’ supporters splashed their red and orange colours all around the Bernabeu but their team had reached its Champions League ceiling, displaying a naivety that Mourinho’s Madrid punished. He will feel that after the exertions of the group of death and their last-16 battle with Manchester United the hard work, at least until the semi-finals, has been done.

There was even time for Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso to pick up bookings that will see them serve convenient suspensions in the second leg, rather than have them hanging over Madrid’s key men in the semi-final. “We have the result we wanted, which was not conceding goals and scoring ourselves. But in football anything can happen,” Alonso said. “There are 90 minutes in Turkey and we have to play with intensity once again. We shouldn’t take anything for granted. We look forward in this competition and we are getting better.”

On nine minutes, Real went ahead when Mesut Ozil sent Cristiano Ronaldo clear and he shot past Fernando Muslera for his ninth Champions League goal of the season.

Ozil and Ronaldo were on the same wavelength again moments later but this time the move ended with Ronaldo’s cross going straight to Muslera. Wesley Sneijder, back in front of his former supporters and on the ground where he won the Champions League in 2010 under Mourinho, also sent a shot over as Galatasaray lived up to their pre-match promise to attack.

But Ozil drew another save from Muslera as Real continued to show their superiority. Michael Essien, a surprising pick ahead of Alvaro Arbeloa, was looking far more assured at right-back than the dropped Spain defender has in recent weeks and it was Essien who made the second goal.

On 28 minutes, he crossed from the right and with Galatasaray’s central defenders focused on Ronaldo, Karim Benzema arrived just behind and struck to keep up his impressive scoring record in the Champions League.

Just before the break, Galatasaray had their best chances when Eboué’s shot was saved by the legs of Diego Lopez and a long ball forward gave Drogba the chance to turn away from Varane inside the area, but the young defender recovered to clear.

Sneijder was taken off at half-time as Fatih Terim tried to salvage something from the first leg, bringing on Gokhan Zan but Real still looked the likelier team to score next with Muslera saving from Angel Di Maria.

Varane cleared a Drogba cross at the other end as the veteran did his best to take the fight to Real, but the home side made it three on 73 minutes when Alonso’s floated free-kick was headed home by Gonzalo Higuain who had replaced Benzema eight minutes earlier – a bonus for Mourinho to see both his strikers score in a season when they have left the goal burden to Ronaldo. The Portuguese almost added a fourth but saw his volley blocked by Eboué.

Burak Yilmaz was fouled by Ramos in the area but earned a yellow card that will see him miss the second leg instead of the penalty he deserved. And there was still time for Drogba to take a free-kick on the edge of the area but it cannoned tamely off the wall and away to safety as both his and Galatasaray’s Champions League campaign looked to have reached a close.

His great friend Mourinho will now sense his dream finale at Real Madrid – leading them into a Champions League final in London next month – has come that little bit closer.

Booked: Real Madrid Essien, Ramos, Modric. Galatasaray Dany, Melo, Drogba, Yilmaz.

Man of the match: Ozil.

Match rating: 5/10.

Possession: Real Madrid 50%. Galatasaray 50%.

Attempts on target: Real Madrid 9. Galatasaray 6.

Referee: S O Moen (Nor).

Attendance: 80,000.

* Second leg Tues 9 April, Türk Telekom Arena

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat