Cristiano Ronaldo hit a second-half hat-trick as Real Madrid opened their Champions League campaign with a 4-0 victory over 10-man Shakhtar Donetsk in last night’s Group A showdown at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Karim Benzema put the hosts ahead in the 30th minute, while Shakhtar had midfielder Taras Stepanenko sent off for a second yellow card five minutes after the re-start.
Real, helped by a dubious penalty, doubled their lead through Ronaldo five minutes later and the Portugal international scored his second when he converted another spot-kick in the 63rd minute after Marcio Azevedo’s clear handball.
Ronaldo capped off a wonderful evening for the home side when he headed his third of the night 10 minutes from time.
The win did come at a cost for Real, however, with Gareth Bale, Raphael Varane and captain Sergio Ramos all sustaining injuries.
Also in Group A, Angel Di Maria opened his account for Paris St Germain as they began their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 victory over Malmo.
The former Manchester United winger’s last club goal came at Huish Park in an FA Cup tie against Yeovil on January 4 but he ended that eight-month wait to find the net just four minutes into this game in the French capital.
Edinson Cavani then headed in his fifth goal in his past three games to give the French giants a winning start.
Benfica opened their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 victory over group stage new boys Astana in Lisbon.
Astana — a club only founded six years ago — became the first Kazakh side to reach the group stages after beating Cypriot side APOEL in last month’s play-off round and refused to be overawed at the Estadio da Luz.
They provided resilient opposition in the first half and striker Aleksei Schetkin struck a post from six yards out within seconds of the re-start.
But second-half goals from Nicolas Gaitan and Kostas Mitroglou gave Benfica a winning start to their Group C campaign ahead of expected tougher tests against Galatasaray and Atletico Madrid.
Antoine Griezmann struck twice in the first half as Atletico Madrid made an ideal start to their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 victory at Galatasaray.
Champions League - Group A:
Paris Saint Germain 2 Malmo 0, Real Madrid 4 Shakhtar Donetsk 0.
PSV Eindhoven 2 Manchester United 1, Wolfsburg 1 CSKA Moscow 0.
Benfica 2 FC Astana 0, Galatasaray 0 Atletico Madrid 2.
Manchester City 1 Juventus 2, Sevilla 3 Borussia Moenchengladbach 0.
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