Great start for Spanish sides in Champions League

Madrid, Sep 16 (IANS) There was a positive start for Spanish sides in this season’s Champions League as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla all kicked off with wins.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his second hat-trick in a week as Real Madrid defeated Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Xinhua news agency reported.

The first chance for Real Madrid came in the 13th minute after Cristiano Ronaldo set up Karim Benzema, who rounded the keeper only to send his shot into the crowd with the empty goal gaping.

He made up for his error with the first goal of the game, taking advantage of a horrendous error from Shakhtar keeper Pyatov to score.

The Shakhtar keeper spilled a routine cross at the Frenchman’s feet and all he had to do was push the ball into an empty net.

The goal came just as Madrid were starting to suffer against a rival who were keeping the ball well, but it was not all good news for Rafael Benitez’s side as Gareth Bale was forced to limp out of the game with a calf injury to be replaced by Mateo Kovacic.

Rafael Varene also failed to appear for the second half with a possible injury, but Real Madrid’s evening got a lot easier after 50 minutes after Stepanenko was sent off for a second yellow card.

Cristiano Ronaldo then increased their lead from the penalty spot, presumably after handball after the ball hit the back of a visiting defender, and he made it 3-0 after another penalty for handball, which also looked to be accidental.

That goal made him the player who has scored the most penalties in the Champions League and he celebrated with his third of the game nine minutes from time against a side demoralized by the referee.

Sevilla also debuted with a win after the Europa League Champions also took advantage from the penalty spot.

The side from the south of Spain were actually given 3 penalties in their 3-0 home win over Borussia Monchengladbach; one was scored and one missed by Kevin Gameiro and the other netted by ever Banega, before Yehven Konoplyanka sealed the win 10 minutes from time.

Finally, two first half goals from Antoine Griezmann gave Atletico Madrid a 2-0 victory away to Galatasaray.

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