Real Madrid have easily beaten Galatasaray 4-1 this Wednesday in Madrid despite playing most of the game with ten men against eleven Galatasaray players after Sergio Ramos‘ red card. Gareth Bale, Alvaro Arbeloa, Angel Di Maria and Isco Alarcon were Real Madrid’s goalscorers. With this win, the Merengues have clinched their spot for the next round and won their group.
For the first time in the Champions League this season, Real Madrid was playing without Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star, injured on Saturday against Almeria, was in the stands and certainly enjoyed his teammates’ performance. To replace Ronaldo, Di Maria was deployed on the left wing while Bale started on the right. Jese Rodriguez was surprisingly picked over Alvaro Morata to start as a striker. For Galatasaray, Didier Drogba was the lone striker in Roberto Mancini’s 4-2-3-1, but Wesley Sneijder was on the bench — the Dutchman not having fully recovered from an injury.
Real started the game controlling possession and should have gone ahead at the 2nd minute, but Bale shockingly missed a golden chance to score his first Champions League goal at the Bernabeu. The Welshman would later make up for his miss and give Real the lead with a wonderful free kick in the 37th minutes just ten minutes after Ramos was sent off after the Spanish defender pulled Umut Bulut‘s shirt as a last defender. The same Bulut equalized for the Turkish side just a minute after Bale’s goal. At the break, the score was 1-1.
Despite their numerical advantage, Mancini’s men started the second half very cautiously, letting Real dictate the tempo of the game. They were punished in the 51st minute by Alvaro Arbeloa who volleyed home a cross from Di Maria. Arbeloa returned the favor to Di Maria 12 minutes later giving an assist to the Argentine winger after a beautiful passing move. At 3-1, Galatasaray gave up and conceded a fourth goal by Isco at the 80th minute.
Real Madrid has delivered a fantastic performance against Galatasaraay to qualify for the knockout stage and win its group. The Merengues have played over 60 minutes down a man and without Cristiano Ronaldo but still remained in control of the game. For Galatasaaray, a win against Juventus is the only result that would qualify Mancini’s men for the next round of the Champions League.