APOEL overpowered by Real’s Galacticos
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - MATCHDAY 1
|Real Madrid||3 - 0||APOEL Nicosia|
|C. Ronaldo 13', (P) 51'
APOEL suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Champions League holders Real Madrid in their Group H opener on Wednesday at the Santiago Bernabeu, but George Donis’ team produced a creditable performance and will return to Cyprus beaten but unbowed.
The Cypriot champions were by no means overwhelmed by their Spanish opponents, but two goals from Christiano Ronaldo – one from the penalty spot – and a cheeky overhead kick from Sergio Ramos, gave the La Liga club a comfortable victory.
APOEL, playing in the group stage for the fourth time, were not overawed by their illustrious opponents and began brightly. Their solid start was undone after 12 minutes, however, when Gareth Bale burst down the left flank and cross low for Ronaldo to side-foot home.
The Portuguese superstar then added a second, slotting home a spot-kick given after Roberto Lago was penalized for handball to chalk up a competition record 107 goals.
Ten minutes later and the scoring was complete when Rea captain Ramos stayed forward during a quick Real break and met a deflected Bale knock-down with a cheeky scissor kick which beat APOEL goalkeeper Boy Waterman.
In the end it was a case of job done for Zinedine Zidane’s men, for whom it was the 37th straight home match that they have scored in, while APOEL will now look to get their campaign up and running on Matchday 2 when Tottenhan Hotspur visit Nicosia in two weeks.
While no team can be happy to lose, in APOEL’s case Donis and his players may feel they got off lightly after seeing some of the other Matchday 1 results.