Ronaldo and Madrid seize control vs. Galatasaray

Posted by Paul Carr, ESPN Stats & Information

In the Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday, one team nearly locked up a semifinal berth, while two others left plenty to play for in the second leg.

Real Madrid topped Galatasaray 3-0, getting goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain. Ronaldo’s score was his competition-leading ninth goal of the season, and he passed Filippo Inzaghi into sixth place on the Champions League career scoring list with his 47th goal.

Benzema struck for the 30th time in 50 Champions League games. He’s the second leading French scorer in UCL history, passing David Trezeguet (29) and trailing only Thierry Henry (50).

Galatasaray actually had more touches (648-629) and passes completed (429-418) than Real Madrid, and each side created 11 chances. But Madrid was much more offensive with its possession, completing twice as many passes in the attacking third (133-67) and creating twice as many chances in the penalty area (6-3), including all three goals.

Real Madrid’s shutout ended the club's 11-game streak of allowing a goal in Champions League play, which matched the longest such run in club history.

Only one team has failed to advance in Champions League after winning the first leg by three or more goals. That was AC Milan in the 2004 quarterfinals, when the Italian club beat Deportivo 4-1 at home before losing 4-0 in Spain.

Real Madrid is a 99.5 percent favorite to advance to the semifinals, according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index.

Wednesday’s other game finished scoreless between Malaga and Borussia Dortmund, and the numbers show an even game was played in Spain.

Each team completed exactly 378 passes and created exactly nine chances, with Malaga holding a small edge in attacking-third passes completed (105-96).

SPI rates Dortmund a 68.7 percent favorite to advance, as a better team playing at home in the second leg. History thinks similarly, with 67 percent of home teams advancing after a scoreless opening game.

The return legs of both series will be played on Tuesday.

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