Cristiano Ronaldo hit thrice and Karim Benzema grabbed a brace to dominate the Turkish giants at home and ensure Real Madrid their first three points of Champions League play under Carlo Ancelotti in Istanbul.
Gareth Bale did not start the match, having played just 60 minutes in the weekend’s draw with Villareal. Manager Ancelotti said that Bale was still only around 75% fit, so it’s no surprise he did not make the starting eleven.
The Galatasaray midfield surprisingly started on top, pressing both Sami Khedira and Luka Modric hard to prevent build-up play. This forced the creativity out wide, and the defense was able to then concentrate on guarding wingers Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria.
Iker Casillas began the match in goal, having received the blessing of Ancelotti as his chosen Champions League goalkeeper, but Casillas was forced off in just the 15th minute with a rib injury. He went up for a save and his own defender Sergio Ramos did not concede the position, also attempting to head the ball away and in the process elbowing Casillas in the ribs.
The game got increasingly physical, with Gatatasaray playing for free kicks and Real Madrid obliging. Felipe Melo had two beautiful chances kept out early, with a long-range strike well saved by a diving Casillas before his injury. Then, a free header was also pushed wide by substitute keeper Diego Lopez in the 30th minute.
Against the run of play, Isco opened the scoring with Real Madrid’s first shot on target in the 32nd minute, and the match’s first goal. A very long ball off the mid-line from Di Maria resulted in a contested header in the box. Emmanuel Eboue failed to get a head on the ball, instead falling down, and it left Isco with a free shot which hit off the post and into the back of the net.
After the halftime break Didier Drogba was replaced by Nordin Amarat due to a shoulder injury Drogba suffered just before halftime in a collision with Madrid defender Pepe.
Galatasaray should have had an equalizer just after the break in the 47th minute, but Burak Yilmaz put his thundering header just wide left.
Karim Benzema took advantage of a Galatasaray mistake for the deathblow in the 54th minute. Melo headed a ball in the midfield but it landed directly to Benzema behind the defense, and the French striker did the rest himself, slotting it past Fernando Muslera for a 2-0 Real Madrid lead.
Cristiano Ronaldo bagged his team’s third in the 63rd minute, a goal that left the legendary winger chuckling. Di Maria got past Muslera on the right edge of the box, but his cross went over Ronaldo’s head. Thankfully, it fell to Isco who cut it back for Ronaldo to smash in from very short range. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.
He got a second just three minutes later, when Sergio Ramos’s header off a free kick was saved, and the rebound fell to Ronaldo for an easy finish as Real Madrid poured it on.
Benzema got his second in the 81st minute. A lovely touch from Ronaldo on the left edge of the box popped the ball across the face as the Frenchman got free and he stuck it home with ease. The consolation for Galatasaray came late for substitute Umut Bulut on a great run beating Pepe, but it did nothing to ease the pain for the home side.
Any fleeting happiness from the goal faded fast as Ronaldo secured his hat-trick in stoppage time with a ridiculous back-and-forth ball beating three Galatasaray defenders in the box before a smashing finish from a tight angle. The goal is his 53rd in 93 Champions League matches.
The comprehensive, dominating win is a major statement by the Spanish giants, as they look to impress under Carlo Ancelotti.
Real Madrid – Isco 32′, Benzema 54′, 81′, Cristiano Ronaldo 63′, 66′
Galatasaray – Bulut 83′
Galatasaray – Muslera; Nounkeu, Chedjou, Eboue, Riera; Melo, Inan; Sneijder, Baytar (Bruma, 62′); Drogba (Amrabat, 45′), Yilmaz (Bulut, 78′).
Real Madrid – Casillas (Diego Lopez, 15′); Pepe, Ramos, Carvajal, Arbeloa; Khedira, Modric (Illarramendi, 72′); Ronaldo, Di Maria; Isco (Bale, 64′), Benzema.