Ronaldo leads way as Real top group
Olympique Marseille 1 Real Madrid 3
Another Cristiano Ronaldo master class featuring two phenomenal goals eased Real into the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Real emerged from Group C as winners with confirmation that you really do get what you pay for. It might have cost them £80 million to take Ronaldo to Madrid but his goals at the start and finish of this game were of such exceptional quality that no-one in Spain will be quibbling at the price.
The Portugese star began with a trademark free kick goal, an up-and-over the defence job from 25 metres that then dipped and swung into the top corner. That came in the fourth minute and was followed by the piece de resistance 11 minutes from the end.
Chasing a long ball, Ronaldo collided with a defender and the on-rushing goalkeeper. As the ball spun loose with all three players on the ground, Ronaldo leapt to his feet, spun around once and squeezed his shot into the empty net with extraordinary aplomb. In between, Albiol restored Real's lead with a 59th minute after Ronaldo had hit a post with a header.
Ronaldo's threat had simmered all evening at the Stade Velodrome. Panic was never hard to discern upon the expressions of the Marseille defenders whenever the Portugese star gained possession.
Real looked less convincing at the other end, unsettled at times by Brandao's rampaging if somewhat un-subtle runs. They, too, panicked in conceding an 11th minute equaliser after Taye Taiwo had roared down the left and crossed from the by-line. A header back on the far post was met with a horrid defensive hoick and Lucho was close in to steer his shot into the net. This wasn't royal or Real defending; just the rough version.
Tragically for Lucho, he then missed a second half penalty that would have made it 2-2, his shot rebounding from the crossbar.
But if Ronaldo was crucial to the cause up front, Lassana Diarra was the busy bee in midfield who oiled the Real wheel. Diarra worked assiduously, breaking up attacks, creating others and protecting his defence like a guard dog. For the most part it was enough.
Olympique Marseille Mandanda; Taiwo, Cisse, Cheyrou, Lucho, Brandao, Niang, Abriel, Heinze, Diawara, Bonnart.
Real Madrid Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Ronaldo, Diarra, Marcelo, Albiol, Higuain, Alonso, van der Vaart.
Referee: W. Stark (Germany)
Latest in Sport
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.