Ronaldo’s Hat Trick Makes It An Uphill Battle For Atletico Madrid In Second Leg

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Cristiano Ronaldo continued to tear through European football on Tuesday, scoring three goals for Real Madrid in their Champions League semifinal first leg against Atletico Madrid. It’s goals 101-104 in Europe for Ronaldo, who now has eight goals in his last three Champions League games.

Atletico Madrid boast one of the best defenses in the world, but they were shorthanded for the first leg at the Bernabeu. Los Blancos took advantage early, as Ronaldo headed a set piece past Oblak in the tenth minute.

With the lead in hand, Real Madrid were able to sit back and and counter, forcing Atleti to play more aggressive. They did, but Real Madrid, boosted by the return of Varane, were solid at the back.

An open second half gave chances to both sides, until Ronaldo doubled his money with just over 15 minutes left. Benzema set up Ronaldo in space, and he worked past a defender en route to rocketing his second goal past Oblak. For his finale, Ronaldo took a low cross from Lucas Vasquez and blasted a short strike into the back of the net.

Now up three goals heading into the second leg, Zidane and Real Madrid have a massive advantage. Atletico is better at home, but offense is not their specialty. They will be forced to chase the result in the second leg, something they have not done successfully in the past. To get their first-ever victory over Real Madrid in Champions League play, Atleti will need to score at least four goals.

Atletico have only scored at least four goals on nine occasions this season, dating back to last year. Most of those were against the bottom teams in Spain, with only one result, a 4-2 win over Leverkusen, coming in Champions League play.

The second leg from Vicente Calderón Stadium will be held on Wednesday, May 10 at 2:45 p.m. Eastern.