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Goal machine Ronaldo seals another Real victory

Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo made it nine goals in seven games by bagging a brace as Real Madrid’s ‘Galacticos’ defeated 10-man Marseille 3-0 on Tuesday in their first Champions League match in front of their Santiago Bernabeu crowd.

It means Real have now won all seven of their matches this season, two in the Champions League and five in the league, and sit top of Group C with a maximum six points.

Real blitzed Marseille with three goals in six minutes; Ronaldo, who now has four Champions League goals in two games, scored two and won the penalty that led to the other.

The marquee summer signing opened the scoring on 58 minutes and then won a spot-kick three minutes later which saw Marseille centre-back Souleymane Diawara dismissed for a second yellow card.

Kaka converted the penalty kick and Ronaldo struck again in the 64th minute to show why Real paid a world record 94 million euros for his services.

Captain Raul, the all-time top-scorer in the Champions League, had to be content with a place on the substitutes’ bench as new French star Karim Benzema started against his compatriots.

Ronaldo and Kaka joined Benzema in an attacking trident with Xabi Alonso and Fernando Gago employed in defensive midfield.

There were familiar faces to the Real fans in the Marseille line-up as Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze and veteran striker Fernando Morientes returned to their old stomping ground.

Heinze spent two seasons at the club before being let go by incoming coach Manuel Pellegrini in the summer while Morientes won three Champions League titles with Real and was given a warm welcome from the home fans.

Off the pitch there was a beefed-up police presence, after Marseille’s last visit to Madrid saw them clash with baton-wielding riot police at the Vicente Calderon during a group match with Atletico Madrid.

There was no repeat of those ugly scenes, though, and the match took centre stage although it was a low-key opening from Real, who only had a half-chance from Sergio Ramos to show from the first 20 minutes.

Marseille, fourth in their domestic league, had a chance of their own on the quarter-hour mark but Iker Casillas was on his toes and raced out to swipe the ball from visiting captain Mamadou Niang.

On 26 minutes the Senegalese star skipped past Pepe but had to shoot from an acute angle and Casillas was on hand again to save with his chest.

It was a warning that appeared to spur Real into action and Benzema went agonisingly close twice.

First of all the ex-Lyon striker saw a brilliant overhead kick go just over and was then thwarted in a one-on-one by goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

In the second half Real got into their stride and took the lead through a route-one goal, with Pepe’s long ball finding Ronaldo who carefully placed a low shot beneath the advancing Mandanda.

The former Manchester United man then drew a foul from Diawara which earned the defender a second yellow card and allowed Kaka to put Real 2-0 up with a confidently taken penalty.

Ronaldo continued his rich vein of form in front of goal with an easy tap-in to wrap up the game after slick inter-play between Benzema and Kaka.

Wed 30 September, 2009
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