Champions League: Bale, Morata Score as Real Madrid Thrash Legia Warsaw 5-1
Gareth Bale. (Getty Images)
Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo was kept waiting for his 100th career goal in European club competitions as Real Madrid swept to a 5-1 victory over Legia Warsaw in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Gareth Bale opened the scoring with his first goal in the Champions League since December 2014. An own-goal by Tomasz Jodlowiec, followed by further strikes from Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and Alvaro Morata, then sealed an emphatic victory for the holders.
The win at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium allowed Madrid to keep pace in Group F with Borussia Dortmund, which held on for a 2-1 win at Sporting Lisbon. Madrid and Dortmund have seven points each after three matches, with Sporting staying on three points and Legia with zero.
Ronaldo remains two short of 100 career goals in Europe. He had scored six goals in his previous three matches, including five for Portugal in World Cup qualifying, but the forward failed to find the net on Tuesday despite a few good scoring chances.
"We always want Cristiano to score goals," Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. "But he did well and created a lot of chances. He scored on Saturday and hopefully he will score again in the next match."
Ronaldo's best opportunities came late, first with low shot that missed the far corner in the 83rd minute and then with a close-range strike that was saved in the 88th.
"There was no specific strategy for Ronaldo," Legia coach Jacek Magiera said. "He is a very good player but we contained him well. Our defenders did well, we conceded five goals but we didn't allow him to score, which is positive."
Ronaldo had been crucial when Madrid rallied late to beat Sporting in its last home game in the Champions League.
Against Legia, Madrid looked vulnerable in defense during the early stages, but stayed mostly in control despite conceding a penalty that cut the team's lead to 2-1 in the 22nd minute.
"We took some risks by playing with a very offensive scheme," Zidane said. "It was expected that defensively we would have more difficulties, but we created a lot of chances on offense and that's what we wanted."
Bale had opened the scoring with a cross shot into the far corner from inside the area in the 16th, and Madrid quickly added to the lead when a shot by Marcelo deflected off defender Jodlowiec and into the net in the 20th.
Miroslav Radovic converted the penalty for Legia after being fouled by Madrid defender Danilo, but Asensio restored Madrid's two-goal advantage after a short pass by Ronaldo in the 37th.
"That 5-1 was too harsh a scoreline," Magiera said. "Had we scored twice and they scored four it might have been fair."
Madrid's substitutes increased its lead in the second half, with Vazquez scoring in the 68th and Morata, set up by a pass by Ronaldo, in the 84th.
Madrid were without defender Sergio Ramos and midfielders Luka Modric and Casemiro because of injuries.
Before the game, there were a few confrontations between Legia fans and local police outside the Bernabeu, and a few officers sustained minor injuries. There were no incidents reported during the game.
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