The Champions League was back in town last night as Real Madrid took on Shakhtar Donetsk at the Bernabeu for the first match of the Qualifying round. Christiano Ronaldo went into the game having scored 5 goals at the weekend and picked three more in this game as Real Madrid cruised to a victory.
Here are five things we learned from last night’s match.
1. A game to forget for Donetsk
The Ukranian outfit will go back home knowing that they could have got a lot more from the game. Nothing went right for them on the day when it started with their Goalkeeper skipping an easy cross to give Benzema a tap-in. In the second half, it got worse as the referee pointed to the spot for a handball on a shot blocked that hit the player on his back. They also got a player sent off and in the end the full-time whistle could not come soon enough for the travelling team.
2. Stern test for Benitez
The season is under way full time for Rafa Benitez the new manager at the Bernabeu. Games are coming thick and fast and Benitez will want all his players available. But 3 of his players, Ramos, Varane and Bale who were all subbed out during the game. The manager will feel the heat even more with games coming in a rush before the next international break in October.
3. Christiano Ronaldo
Scoring 8 goals in a week, 3 in a European Competition is something not many can achieve. Yet it is just another week at the office for the Portugal icon Christiano Ronaldo. He was ruthless at the weekend when he picked 5 up and showed glimpses of what he can do in this match against Shakhtar. This hat trick puts Ronaldo 2 goals clear of Lionel Messi in the all-time goal scorers list of the Europe’s Elite Tournament.
4. Los Blancos not at its best
In a better world, Madrid would have score 6 or 7 and ran Shaktar ragged. But unlike the score line suggests, Real Madrid was not the well-oiled machine that could produce some of the best football on the planet. From Ronaldo’s free kicks to Benzema’s misses Madrid were put under pressure by the visitors from the first blow of the whistle. The manager has a lot of work to do if he wants his squad to be world beaters.
5. Benitez is loved by the fans
Even as Real Madrid were running away with the game with the Bernabeau screaming to its extremes, the fans did not forget to show how they feel about their new manager. Benitez has already tasted European success with other clubs, but a club as big as Real Madrid may be intimidating. However, the fans made sure he feels comfortable with his job showing appreciation every chance they got.
The return of Champions League football will make every football fan jump with joy.
Make sure you follow our website and not miss out on any of the games that are coming your way in the next 20 days.