Cristiano Ronaldo Hat-Trick Puts Real Madrid in 7th Straight UCL Semi-Final

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2017

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg football match Real Madrid vs FC Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid in Madrid on April 18, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / CURTO DE LA TORRE        (Photo credit should read CURTO DE LA TORRE/AFP/Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to send Real Madrid to its seventh successive UEFA Champions League semi-final with a 4-2 win over Bayern Munich in the quarter-final second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday night.

Ronaldo's goals gave the Champions League holders a 6-3 aggregate win. They also gave him a landmark in Europe's premier club competition, per

Real's win came after a second leg littered with incidents and controversy.

In the 76th minute, Ronaldo tied the game to give Real a 3-2 lead on aggregate, but a Sergio Ramos own goal forced the match into extra time.

Bayern entered extra time with 10 men after the officials sent off midfielder Arturo Vidal for two yellow cards, although his second booking came after what looked like a fair challenge on Real substitute Marco Asensio.

Ronaldo's decisive goal came in the 105th minute, but it looked like it was from the offside position, and his third also caused debate.

Asensio added insult to injury when he scored Los Blancos' fourth of the night in the 112th minute.

Robert Lewandowski had missed the first leg with a shoulder problem but was back for Bayern, while Isco replaced the injured Gareth Bale for Los Merengues, per the Champions League's Twitter account:

The Bavarians put the hosts on the back foot from the start, passing the ball with precision, pace and intelligence. The visitors also stretched the pitch well, using the width afforded by wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.

Bayern's dominance forced Los Blancos into some terrific last-ditch defending. In particular, left-back Marcelo made two heroic interventions either side of half-time—the first in the six-yard box and the second on the line.

Marcelo wasn't the only defender who denied a goal. For all their dominance, Bayern should have been behind when Toni Kroos fired in a shot for Real that Mats Hummels blocked superbly.

DW Sports shared a snap of the centre-back's critical contribution:

Bayern's breakthrough came in the 53rd minute, after Robben was tripped following a sluggish challenge by Casemiro. As OptaFranz noted, Robben has been a prolific source of spot-kicks in this competition:

Lewandowski stepped up, with predictable results. His history against Los Merengues made the outcome no surprise, per WhoScored:

Finding the net is something the Poland international has done for fun this season, according to BT Sport Football:

Needing to react, Real manager Zinedine Zidane introduced Asensio off the bench and changed his team's shape, with football writer Dermot Corrigan detailing the new formation:

Isco made way next, being sacrificed for a more traditional winger in Lucas Vazquez. It seemed a strange call by Zidane since he had not long ago removed Karim Benzema and his aerial power, which would have been the ideal foil for Vazquez from wide areas.

Still, the changes seemed to have worked when Ronaldo turned home from close range after Casemiro lifted a ball over the top. Squawka Football pointed out how Real's prolific No. 7 often saves his best for the big occasions:

Ronaldo and his team-mates only had moments to celebrate, though, because Bayern were soon back in front. The visitors' second goal came after a comedy of errors in which right-back Dani Carvajal prodded a cross meant for Lewandowski toward Ramos, who knocked it in.

Yet Bayern's confidence surely wavered when Vidal was sent off after he received his second yellow.

Squawka summed up Vidal's eventful tie:

The decision left Bayern to face around six minutes with 10 men to get to extra time.

Ronaldo settled things in the first added period when he chested down a Ramos pass before firing in on the turn.

He was soon teed up by Marcelo for his hat-trick, and Asensio added some gloss to the scoreline.

Afterward, Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Sky Germany (h/t DW Sports) how the decision to send off Vidal changed the game:

Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti was more blunt in his assessment of the referee:

Holders Real made it through, although Bayern and others will bemoan several decisions from this action-packed second leg.


For more news, rumors and related stories about Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid and the UEFA Champions League, check out the Champions League and Real Madrid streams on Bleacher Report's app.


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