Real Madrid have all but booked their place in the Champions League semi-finals for a record 24th time as they overpowered Galatasaray 3-0 at the Bernabeu.
Galatasaray’s coaches and players had insisted before the game that they would try to attack Real Madrid and that they would not settle for holding out for a draw. The problem with that approach is that Real Madrid are one of the best counter-attacking teams in Europe, and Gala were consistently exposed at the back especially in the first half.
It took Madrid just two minutes to have their first attempt at goal when Benzema headed just over the bar after a cross from Angel Di Maria.
So it was no surprise when they took the lead after just nine minutes, when Ozil delivered a delightful pass into the path of Ronaldo, who calmly chipped the ball over goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and into the net.
Gala played pretty football but struggled to penetrate the Madrid backline and were limited to shots from outside the area. Didier Drogba turned Raphael Varane on the 18-yard line and shot just over the bar. THen Drogba drew a fisted save from Diego López as Galatasaray continued to probe.
Eboue them completed a dreadful first half when he burst through on goal but hit his shot straight at Diego Lopez’s legs right before half-time. A goal then for Gala would have totally changed the match and tie, but Eboue couldn’t deliver.
The second half lacked the intensity of the first half. Gala seemed more concerned with not conceding a third than scoring themselves and Madrid went through the motions also.
Any hope that Gala had of making a comeback in front of their fanatical fans next week disappeared in the 65th minute when Higuain was left unmarked to heat home from a Xabi Alonso free-kick.
Before Mourinho arrived at the Bernabeu, Real Madrid had been knocked out of the Champions League for six consecutive seasons as at the round of 16. Barring a complete collapse in Istanbul, Madrid can be confident of reaching their third consecutive Champions League semi-final under Mourinho.
Photo Credit: @English_AS. Galatasaray fans in the Bernabeu tonight