Ronaldo leads Madrid to 3-0 win over Atletico

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his side's 3rd goal. Photo / AP
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his side's 3rd goal. Photo / AP

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick to lead Real Madrid to a commanding 3-0 win over city rival Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal today.

Ronaldo scored with a header in the 10th minute, with a strike into the top corner in the 73rd and a close-range shot in the 86th to give the defending champions a comfortable lead going into next week's second leg at Atletico's Vicente Calderon Stadium.

Monaco hosts Juventus in the first leg of the other semifinal tomorrow.

Madrid, which is looking to reach its third final in four seasons, was in control from the start at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and took advantage of Ronaldo's impressive form. He had scored five in the two legs of the quarterfinals against Bayern Munich, including a hat trick in the second leg at the Bernabeu.

He opened the scoring on Tuesday after Atletico's defense failed to fully clear a cross into the area.

Midfielder Casemiro sent the ball back in with a bouncing shot and Ronaldo got ahead of defender Stefan Savic to nod it past Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Ronaldo added to the lead after Atletico defender Filipe Luis lost the ball in a challenge with the Portugal star, who entered the area and fired a right-foot shot past Oblak into the upper corner.

He scored his 10th Champions League goal of the season with a low shot from inside the area after a pass by Lucas Vazquez. Ronaldo now has 103 goals in the Champions League, not counting one he scored in the qualifiers, which is three more than Atletico has scored since the new format was created in 1992.

Madrid dominated early on, controlling possession and causing problems for Atletico's defense with set pieces taken by midfielder Toni Kroos. Madrid had 11 attempts against only one for Atletico in the first half alone. The visitors improved in the second half, keeping Madrid from threatening as much, but they still were not able to create many scoring chances.

Atletico's best chance of the match came in the 17th minute, when forward Kevin Gameiro received the ball inside the area but wasn't able to clear Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas in a one-on-one situation.

The crosstown rivals are meeting for the fourth consecutive time in the top European club competition. Madrid defeated Atletico in the final last season and also in 2014, and eliminated Diego Simeone's team in the quarterfinal in 2015.

Madrid, which won its record 11th-title last year, is trying to become the first team to win back-to-back Champions League titles since the competition's new format began. No team has had a chance to defend its title since Manchester United in 2009.

Atletico, the third force in Spanish soccer behind Madrid and Barcelona, is trying to win its first title and avenge the heartbreaking losses to Madrid in a penalty shootout last year and after extra time in 2014. Atletico also lost the final in 1974, to Bayern Munich.

Today's loss at the Bernabeu was the first for Atletico in 16 away games.

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