Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid reached the Champions League semi-finals with a 3-0 comeback victory over Wolfsburg on Tuesday.
Dani Carvajal replaced Danilo as Madrid made just the one change from the 2-0 defeat in the first leg, with Karim Benzema back leading the line and Raphael Varane named a substitute, while Wolfsburg were unchanged from the first leg.
Madrid flew out of the traps, clearly aware their dream of La Undecima was hanging in the balance, and Sergio Ramos almost headed his side into an early lead, only for the frame of Diego Benaglio’s goal to intervene.
Nonetheless, Ronaldo showed why he was the season’s top goalscorer in the Champions League by tucking away Carvajal’s low cross at Benaglio’s back post, before needing less than two minutes to draw Los Blancos square in the tie with a glancing header from a corner.
However, that was as good as it got for Madrid before half-time, despite Wolfsburg losing their talisman Julian Draxler to injury.
In fact, the Germans seemed to be given a new lease of life after the midfielder’s departure as Max Kruse prompted a change in shape for the better, and Keylor Navas was forced to tip over Luiz Gustavo’s piledriver, before Bruno Henrique took too long with his shot when unmarked in the Madrid box.
The restart was finely poised for the first 25 minutes, but Luka Modric’s cutback suddenly took a horrible deflection off Guilavogui’s standing and Benaglio was forced into a crucial reaction stop at his near post.
Ramos then climbed highest to power a header on target from a corner after good work from Benzema down the left, but the defender’s effort clipped the post and was clawed off the line by Benaglio, amidst suspicions the ball indeed rolled over.
Wolfsburg, meanwhile, nearly took advantage of a rare attack as Ricardo Rodriguez flighted a perfectly-weighted free kick into Madrid’s penalty area for Dante to throw his head onto, but Ramos did just enough to put off the Brazilian, resulting in an easy save for Navas.
However, it was a case of cometh the hour cometh the man for Madrid as Ronaldo squeezed a free kick through the tiniest of gaps in the wall and notched up yet another Champions League hat-trick.
Los Blancos could’ve extended their lead when Benzema’s curling shot in the Germans’ box was pushed away by Benaglio, before sub Jese Rodriguez had a deflected strike from close range tipped over by Benagliio, but it didn’t matter as the side reached the final four for the sixth consecutive campaign.
Real Madrid 3-0 Wolfsburg (3-2 agg.)
Ronaldo 15, 17
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Kroos, Modric, Casemiro; Bale, Benzema (Jese 84), Ronaldo
Wolfsburg: Benaglio; Vieirinha, Naldo, Dante, Rodriguez; Guilavogui (Dost 80), Gustavo; Henrique (Caligiuri 72), Arnold, Draxler (Henrique 32); Schurrle
Referee: Kassai [HUN]