Benzema 12, 72, 89; Ronaldo 49
Real Madrid rounded off the group stages of the Champions League with a convincing win over French side Auxerre. Madrid had already secured top spot in Group C but kept up their winning run and Jose Mourinho will be hoping to take that form into the knockout stages of the competition.
Having already secured qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League it was very much an exhibition style match for Los Blancos against Auxerre, with the chance for some Madrid fringe players to get some valuable minutes.
Mourinho was serving a touchline ban for his part in the tactical sending’s off against Ajax in the previous Champions League game. Assistant coach Aitor Karanka was left in charge for the game and it wasn’t long before Real drew first blood. Following great work from Cristiano Ronaldo down the left hand side, Benzema was on hand to head in the cross on the goal line.
Pedro Leon was given a rare start and he was looking to grab the opportunity given to him by Mourinho and showed some glimpses of skill and crossing. It was Pedro Leon who delivered a pin point cross for Ronaldo who somehow managed to header the ball wide from six yards out. Stand in goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek was called into action midway through the first half, Mignot met a cross from the right and the Real number two saved well with his legs.
Three minutes before the break, Auxerre almost levelled proceedings. Oliech drifted past Marcelo and drilled in a low shot across goal, but Dudek just managed to get a fingertip to the ball to divert it out. But the veteran Polish goalkeeper’s participation in the match was over right at the stroke of half-time when he collided with Contout and was replaced by Adan.
Shortly after the restart Madrid put the game to bed; left back Marcelo bombed forward and slid a defence splitting ball thorough to Ronaldo who smashed home from just inside the box to score his fourth goal in six Champion’s League this season.
Marcelo was looking lively and got forward well again but saw his shot go narrowly wide of the left hand post. It wasn’t long before Madrid made it three; Karim Benzema collected a ball from Mahammadou Diarra and drills a left footed shot across the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.
Benzema came close to completing his hat trick in the final minutes, having been put through on goal by Lassana Diarra, Benzema turned two Auxerre defenders inside out but couldn’t find a way past Sorin.
Benzema eventually completed his hat trick with a magnificent goal. Auxerre goalkeeper Sorin’s attempted clearance fell into the path of the Frenchman who lifted the ball over the stranded keeper to complete the scoring with his third of the night.
Madrid will be hoping that they will rewarded for finishing top of the group when the draw for the knockout stages of the Champions League takes place on the 17th December.
17 Arbeloa – 18 Albiol – 2 Carvalho – 12 Marcelo
11 Granero – 6 M Diarra – 10 L Diarra
21 P Leon – 9 Benzema – 7 Ronaldo
45 – 13 Adan on for 25 Dudek
73 – 27 Sarabia on for 7 Ronaldo
75 – 19 Garay on for 3 Marcelo