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HindustanTimes Tue,22 Jul 2014

Football

Ronaldo sparkles in goals bonanza on opening night
Reuters
London, September 18, 2013
First Published: 03:51 IST(18/9/2013)
Last Updated: 01:47 IST(19/9/2013)

Cristiano Ronaldo underlined his status as Real Madrid's conductor with a hat-trick as they joined holders Bayern Munich and Manchester United in posting big wins as the Champions League group stage started on Tuesday.

Thirty goals rained in around Europe but the Portuguese forward stole the show with a scintillating display in Real's 6-1 hammering of Galatasaray as they began their quest for a 10th European crown with a powerful statement of intent.

Gareth Bale, Real's 100 million euros ($133.49 million)signing, had the honour of becoming the world's most expensive substitute but the Welshman belatedly joined the party to set up Ronaldo's second goal in a one-sided Group B match.

It was Ronaldo's second Champions League hat-trick after his treble against Ajax Amsterdam last year.

Less than four months after a last-minute Arjen Robben goal won last season's trophy for Bayern Munich the Bundesliga giants were quick off the mark in their defence of the title.

David Alaba's powerful early free kick sent Bayern on their way to a 3-0 victory over CSKA Moscow in Pep Guardiola's first European tie since taking charge. Dutchman Robben was on target again with Mario Mandzukic scoring Bayern's other goal.

Ronaldo's former Manchester United team mate Wayne Rooney also scored twice in the English champions' 4-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen as the Old Trafford club began their first European venture without Alex Ferguson at the helm since 1985.

Ferguson, who twice steered United to Champions League success, watched as Rooney's double and goals from Robin Van Persie and Antonio Valencia gave new boss David Moyes a pleasing, if sometimes anxious, first taste of the group stage.

Edinson Cavani was on target for big-spending Paris St Germain as the French club began with a 4-1 win at Olympiakos Piraeus in Group C. Twice former European Cup winners Benfica matched them with a 2-0 win at home to Anderlecht.

Not all the European aristocrats had it their own way, however, with Juventus held to a 1-1 draw at FC Copenhagen.

Bayern Munich's main Group D rivals look like being Manchester City with the English Premier League club easing to a 3-0 win away to Czech side Viktoria Plzen.

Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero were on target after the break for City who are aiming for the knockout rounds for the first time after missing out in the last two seasons.

Real Sociedad's return to the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2003-04 went flat as Shakhtar Donetsk returned from Spain with a 2-0 victory in Group A. ($1 = 0.7491 euros)


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