Champions League: Real's road to final

Paired with Borussia Dortmund, Legia Warszawa and Sporting Club de Portugal in Group F, defending champion Real Madrid started of slowly and eventually finished second behind Dortmund with 12 points, drawing and winning three games apiece. Madrid started its campaign with a narrow 2-1 at home to Sporting, as Ronaldo equalised against his former side in the 89th minute with a freekick before Morata sealed all three points in the last minute. Indifferent form kicked in with a 2-2 draw at Dortmund, 5-1 thrashing of Legia at home and a 3-3 draw at Legia meant it needed to win the last two games to finish top. It eked out another 2-1 draw at Sporting before ending the group stages with a thrilling 2-2 draw at Dortmund as Zidane’s men finished the group second, two points behind the Germans. Photo: AP
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By virtue of finishing second in its group, Madrid had to play its first leg, against Napoli, at home. And it played to its advantage as Benzema, Kroos and Casemiro cancelled out Insigne’s shock opener. The 3-1 scoreline was repeated in the second leg in Italy in similar circumstances. The host opened the scoring through Dries Mertens before Madrid hit back through Ramos and an own goal from Mertens. Morata put the icing on the cake in injury time as Madrid progressed through to the quarters with a 6-2 aggregate win. Photo: Reuters
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Zidane’s men toughest test yet, Real Madrid headed to the Allianz Arena for the first leg as it took on Bayern Munich. However, it was a Ronaldo show for Los Blancos as Madrid came from a goal down to beat the Bavarians 2-1 thanks to a second-half brace from Portuguese. Ronaldo became the first player to score 100 in UEFA competitions. Madrid started the second leg at home as favourite and Bayern did nothing to change that. Despite forcing the game into extra time, Ronaldo blew away the Bavarians with a treble as Madrid won 4-2 on the night and 6-3 on aggregate. Bayern did have cause to feel aggrieved as couple of the decisions went against it that ultimately cost it the game. Either way, Ronaldo, in the course of his hattrick, became the first player to score 100 goals in the UEFA Champions League. Photo: AP
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Another day, another Ronaldo hattrick. The Portuguese really came into his own during the latter stages of the competition as Real Madrid blanked city-rival Atletico 3-0 at home as he scored eight goals in three UCL games. Atletico in the second leg had history against it: no team had ever overturned a two-goal deficit in the semifinal. However, Saul Niguez and Griezmann made a match out of it, bringing the deficit down to just one goal within the first 16 minutes. However, some good work from Benzeman down the left flank, where he beat three people, set up Isco who stabbed home the ball. The last ever European game at the Vicente Calderon ended in heartbreak as Real prevailed 4-2 on aggregate. Photo: AP
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