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Apr 3, 2013

Ronaldo helps Real punish Galatasaray

MADRID -- Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring after just nine minutes as Real Madrid swept to a convincing 3-0 victory over Galatasaray in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Wednesday.

Ronaldo's delicate lob was followed by Karim Benzema's shot inside goalkeeper Fernando Muslera's near post 20 minutes later.

Gonzalo Higuain came on for Benzema in the 65th and eight minutes later headed home Madrid's third from a free kick curled in by Xabi Alonso.

Didier Drogba could have scored for the visitors in the 12th but his shot went high.

Madrid is aiming to reach its 24th semifinals appearance in pursuit of a record 10th European Cup.

"If we score a goal, they will have to score five. But in football I have seen so many incredible things, nothing can surprise me," Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said. "Istanbul is a very difficult place to play. They will fight very hard against us. The story of football is full of miracles, and I will try and convince my players that it's not all over yet."

Alonso and Sergio Ramos will be suspended for the second leg for yellow-card accumulation.

"Of course 3-0 is a bad result," Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim said, criticizing Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen. "The referee did not dare give a couple of penalties against us. We had our chances, too, but we failed to convert them."

Ronaldo set the early tone with an exquisite piece of skill, running on to Mesut Ozil's defense-splitting pass before lifting the ball over goalkeeper Muslera and into the far corner of the net. Since his arrival at Madrid, the German midfielder has supplied Ronaldo with 25 goal-scoring assists.

Didier Drogba could have equalized for the visitors in the 12th after controlling the ball on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot flew high. Three minutes later, Wesley Sneijder's effort also sailed over the Madrid crossbar in one of the visitors' best periods of the game.

Muslera was forced to make a good, low save in the 18th minute from a shot by Oezil before Madrid made its superiority count for a second time. Benzema was picked out by a long cross from the right by Michael Essien and the France international was allowed just enough time to unleash a low, right-foot shot inside Muslera's near post.

Madrid continued to the control game in the second half, while Galatsaray had very little to show for its efforts and lacked any real bit in the final third. Angel Di Maria had a shot at close range, but the ball was held by Muslera in the 62nd.

However, there was nothing the Galatasaray keeper could do in the 73rd minute when Higuain rose to meet a free kick by Alonso and sent a glancing header into the corner of the net. In Wednesday's other quarterfinal, first leg match, Malaga held Borussia Dortmund to a 0-0 draw in Spain.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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