Real Madrid put five past Legia Warsaw, to take a giant step towards qualification in Group F, all that was missing was a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo.
The competition’s all-time leading scorer was frustrated by visiting keeper Arkadiusz Malarz but laid on two goals as Real took Legia apart with Gareth Bale scoring the all important opener.
No one expected much from Legia but they had two chances in the first 10 minutes. Tomasz Jodlowiec shot weakly after being gifted possession after a mistake by Toni Kroos in midfield and Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe hit a post.
Although Real Madrid were slack at the back they knew they would score at the other end and it was not long before they took the lead.
Bale was given some shooting practice on minute 16 and found the back of the net with ease. Adam Hlousek committed the sin of letting the Welshman come inside on to his left foot and he found the far corner of Malarz’s net.
It was two three minutes later when Real got a second. Marcelo fired Benzema’s cross goalwards and it beat the keeper with some help from a deflection from Jodlowiec. Madrid looked like scoring every time they attacked but they were not defending as well as they were getting forward.
Danilo brought down Miroslav Radovic and it was the Legia forward who sent Keylor Navas the wrong way from the spot to make it 2-1.
In spite of their awful defending the holders were still able to pick the Polish side off with ease at the other end.
Bale almost got himself in trouble when trying to dribble himself out of the right back position but Madrid were let off the hook. Bale recovered to start the move that led to the third goal.
He released Danilo who, from an offside position, fed Ronaldo. The Portuguese laid the ball back to Marco Asensio to fire in his fourth goal of the season from the edge of the area.
At the start of the second half Thibault Moulin was booked for chopping down James Rodriguez. The referee had allowed the advantage but when Ronaldo was fouled too he blew the whistle only for Ronaldo to hit the wall with his free-kick.
The Champions League all-time top scorer’ struggles continued in front of goal. He was booked midway through the second half for kicking Bartosz Bereszyński to add to that frustration.
Zidane kept Ronaldo on the pitch but both Bale and James Rodriguez made way for Alvaro Morata and Lucas Vazquez and they combined for a spectacular fourth. Morata crossed from the left and on the volley Vazquez smashed the ball past Malarz.
Ronaldo sent another shot wide with ten minutes left but had a smile for Benzema who had played him in.
The former Manchester United was not the third change either. Having made his mark in the first half, Asensio made way for Mateo Kovacic. The 20-year-old left to loud applause from the Bernabeu who know in the young midfielder they have a star on the Champions League stage for years to come.
Ronaldo turned provider for Morata to get the fifth with six minutes left as Real completed the rout.
If Madrid win behind closed doors in Poland in two weeks time then they will have qualification sewn up with just the top of the group to contest with Borussia Dortmund. It is so far so good for the holders.
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