Cristiano Ronaldo hit a sensational hat-trick as holders Real Madrid beat neighbours Atletico 3-0 to take a major step towards the 2017 Champions League final in Cardiff.
The Portuguese forward followed up his treble against Bayern Munich in the last eight, with another virtuoso display as Los Blancos took a firm grip of this last-four tie with a dominant first-leg showing at the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo headed home a landmark 50th goal in the knock-out stage of the competition in the 10th minute to open the scoring, before adding two in the second period as Zinedine Zidane's men took advantage of Atletico's uncharacteristically fragile backline.
Real's talisman has now equalled Lionel Messi's record haul of seven Champions League hat-tricks and looks intent on helping his team to become the first to retain the trophy in the current format.
Kevin Gameiro and Diego Godin wasted gilt-edged chances to level against the run of play in the first half for Los Rojiblancos, but they lacked imagination throughout and now have a mountain to climb in the second leg at the Vicente Calderon next Wednesday.
Can Real secure a first league and European Cup double since 1958? Zidane is one step closer to being the first coach to retain the Champions League (in this format) and could also end up securing an impressive double if they win their remaining La Liga matches – not bad for a first full campaign in charge. It’s surprising that it is almost 60 years since Real last achieved such a feat, but with Ronaldo in this form, they are red-hot favourites to prevail.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) - Who else? Ronaldo continues to hit the heights, chalking up landmark after landmark. Big players produce when it matters most and he was once again the major difference on the night.
REAL MADRID: Navas 7; Carvajal 7, Ramos 8, Varane 8, Marcelo 8; Casemiro 7, Kroos 8, Modric 7; Isco 6, Ronaldo 9, Benzema 7. Subs: Nacho 6, Asensio 7, Vazquez 7.
ATLETICO MADRID: Oblak 7; Savic 6, Lucas 6, Godin 7, Luis 6; Gabi 7, Saul 5, Koke 6, Carrasco 7; Griezmann 6, Gameiro 6. Subs: Torres 6, Gaitan 6, Correa 6.
10' - GOAL! REAL MADRID 1-0 ATLETICO MADRID. Ronaldo arrives on cue to thump home a header from Casemiro's miscued cross on the volley.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: Rampant Ronaldo nets hat-trick as Real humble Atletico in semi-final first leg