Rodrygo treble fires Real Madrid into Champions League knockout phase

By PA Sport Staff

Brazilian teenager Rodrygo plundered a hat-trick as Real Madrid trounced Galatasaray 6-0 to ease their way towards the Champions League knockout phase.

The 18-year-old former Santos striker scored twice within the opening seven minutes at the Bernabeu Stadium and completed his treble in stoppage time to cap a fine evening’s work.

In addition, he had earlier set up Karim Benzema to score the first of his two goals after skipper Sergio Ramos had converted from the penalty spot.

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Benzema’s second was his 50th goal for the club in the competition and helped set up a showdown with Group A leaders Paris St Germain in Spain in three weeks’ time.

The French side will head into the game five points better off than their hosts, but knowing Zinedine Zidane’s men have put a slow start to their European campaign firmly behind them.

Real hit the Turkish side with an early blitz which left them reeling as they effectively had the points wrapped up within the opening 14 minutes.

Rodrygo needed just four of those minutes to fire his side in front, and he helped himself to a second just three minutes later with a fine header, full-back Marcelo providing the ammunition on both occasions as Galatasaray were picked off repeatedly at the back.

Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot (Bernat Armangue/AP/PA)
Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot (Bernat Armangue/AP/PA)

Their fortunes took a further turn for the worse when, having been invited to review Steve Nzonzi’s challenge on Toni Kroos on the edge of the box by the video assistant referee, German match official Felix Zwayer pointed to the spot.

Ramos resisted the temptation to allow Rodrygo to complete a quick-fire hat-trick, dinking the resulting penalty over keeper Fernando Muslera to make it 3-0.

The Brazilian teenager turned provider on the stroke of half-time, capitalising on yet another error by the Galatasaray rearguard to hand Benzema the simplest of chances to make it 4-0.

Midfielder Nzonzi and striker Florin Andone both made way at the break to be replaced by as Galatasaray boss Fatih Terim attempted to stem the tide, and they at least showed a greater resilience with their hosts in cruise control.

Muslera spared his side further punishment when he got down well to repel Kroos’ 67th-minute drive and was rewarded when Benzema was unable to convert the rebound, and the keeper pushed Isco’s header on to the crossbar seconds later to deny the substitute a goal with his first touch.

Benzema passed up two opportunities to add to his tally as time ran down, but he made no mistake when he tapped home Dani Carvajal’s 81st-minute cross from point-blank range to complete a personal half-century before Rodrygo completed the rout from the Frenchman’s through-ball.

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