Real Madrid Vs. Galatasaray, UEFA Champions League 2013: Strikers Score, Madrid Gets Good Margin (3-0)

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Real Madrid managed to get a comfortable lead in the tie for what would've been a very tough match at Turkey otherwise. Benzema started the game and scored the team's second goal while Higuaín joined the match in the 64th minute and wrapped the game up himself with another goal. Cristiano scored Real Madrid's first goal, so the strikers finally did what they're expected to do, put balls in the net.

Real Madrid played professionally, and it's even clearer now that the team just doesn't care about La Liga anymore. Not even one player put up on a sub-par performance, and that's something Real Madrid fans must feel happy about. Mourinho surprised everyone with the starting XI, though, as Michael Essien got the nod instead of Álvaro Arbeloa. It was quite an strange decision, but Essien was brilliant throughout the whole match and even got a good assist in Real's second goal.

Galatasaray never created much danger other than a good shot by Emmanuel Eboué in the first half that was stopped by Diego López. The Spanish goalkeeper probably thought about what Fernando Burgos said to Mourinho in Tuesday's press conference after completing a good performance while keeping a clean sheet. Diego is not giving Mourinho reasons to bench him, and that's why he's Real Madrid's starting goalkeeper right now.

Varane, Ramos and Coentrao also defended really well. Ramos' match was simply brilliant until the 75th minute where he clearly fouled Burak Yilmaz inside Real Madrid's box. Luckily enough for Real's captain, the referee saw no contact and even showed a yellow card to Yilmaz. Coentrao completed 95% of his passes and seemed very comfortable defending as well.

Sami Khedira and Alonso didn't play their best game, though. While they weren't bad neither, Khedira's physical presence wasn't that big of a factor against Felipe Melo and Selçuk Inan. Both of them completely prevented Sneijder from getting into rhythm. Alonso assisted Higuaín in Real's third and last goal off a brilliant set-piece and a huge defensive mistake by Galatasaray. Higuaín had no men covering him and just headed the ball to the back of the net.

But it all started with Özil and Cristiano Ronaldo. The German playmaker leaked a pass in a brilliant offensive transition and Cristiano Ronaldo chipped it passed Muslera. Özil played really well when it all mattered and Real Madrid still didn't have a big lead to protect, and the Bernabéu realized it and gave him an standing ovation when Modric came in to replace him.

Galatasaray enjoyed some good minutes in the second half before conceding the third goal, though. They held on the ball longer since Terim decided to place a three-man defensive line and play with one more midfielder. Drogba or Yilmaz never had a clear chance thanks to Real Madrid's defensive work, though.

Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso will miss the second leg at Telekom Arena after getting booked today. Real Madrid has a fine margin, so that was probably a good move since they could've missed the first match of the Semifinals if they saw a yellow card at Turkey.

It's important for Real Madrid to have that big lead in the tie before the match at Turkey kicks off. Galatasaray will now have to play with a very offensive-minded system and that's something that fits Real Madrid well. Cristiano Ronaldo and Di María will have more chances off counterattacks and Real should be capable of scoring at least one goal in that scenario.

Levante will visit the Bernabéu on Saturday before Real Madrid travels to Turkey to seal the ticket to the Champions League Semifinals.

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