Reigning Champions League winners Real Madrid took a huge first step to booking their spot in this year’s final via a 3-0 first-leg victory against Atletico Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat trick lifted Zinedine Zidane’s side to a first leg win at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, against their local rivals. Ronaldo’s 86th-minute finish capped off a strong performance from Los Blancos against an Atletico side who failed to get much going offensively.
The Portuguese international opened the scoring after 10 minutes, heading home Casemiro’s cross past Jan Oblak. Raphael Varane and Isco saw their first-half efforts saved by Oblak, while Karim Benzema also came close to adding to the hosts lead.
The second-half introductions of Fernando Torres and Nicolas Gaitan failed to make a difference, as the visitors were still looking for their first shot on goal.
Ronaldo doubled Real Madrid’s lead in the 73rd minute, seeing his right-footed effort beat Oblak to the top left corner. The forward completed his 42nd career hat trick for Real Madrid, tapping home Lucas Vazquez’s assist in the 86th minute.
At the final whistle, the reigning champions now see themselves 90+ minutes from returning to the Champions League final. Oblak made four saves in the defeat, while Atletico failed to record a shot on goal.
Real Madrid will look to become the first European club to win back-to-back Champions League finals. The second leg takes place on May 10th at the Vicente Calderon.
The second semifinal kicks off on Wednesday, as Monaco welcomes Juventus to the Stade Louis II.