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Ronaldo hat-trick has Real celebrating

dpa logodpa 2/05/2017 By TALES AZZONI

Real Madrid's 3-0 first-leg win over Atletico Madrid in their Champions League semi-final has given the defending champions a massive advantage in the tie.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to lead Real Madrid to a commanding 3-0 win over city rival Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.

Ronaldo scored with a header in the 10th minute, with a strike into the top corner in the 73rd and a close-range shot in the 86th to give the defending champions a comfortable lead going into next week's second leg at Atletico's Vicente Calderon Stadium.

Monaco hosts Juventus in the first leg of the other semifinal on Wednesday.

"We played a great match," Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. "It's not easy to score three times against such a difficult opponent and keep a clean sheet."

The result left Atletico close to yet another disappointing elimination against the cross-town rival, following defeats in the Champions League in the last three seasons.

"We're going to try and do something practically impossible next week," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. "We're Atletico Madrid and maybe, just maybe, we can do it."

Madrid, who are looking to reach their third final in four seasons, were in control from the start at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and took advantage of Ronaldo's impressive form. He had scored five times in the two legs of the quarter-finals against Bayern Munich, including a hat-trick in the second leg at the Bernabeu.

He opened the scoring on Tuesday after Atletico's defence failed to fully clear a cross into the area. Midfielder Casemiro sent the ball back in with a bouncing shot and Ronaldo got ahead of defender Stefan Savic to nod it past Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Ronaldo added to the lead after Atletico defender Filipe Luis lost the ball in a challenge with the Portugal star, who entered the area and fired a right-foot shot past Oblak into the upper corner.

"Our first 30 minutes were fantastic, we started with great intensity," Zidane said. "And in the second half we were very effective. We didn't have as many chances, but we still scored twice."

The visitors improved in the second half, keeping Madrid from threatening as much, but they still were not able to create many scoring chances and will go into the second leg without having scored any away goals.

"We had the ball in the second half but didn't create anything and they exploited the spaces well," Simeone said.

Atletico's best chance of the match came in the 17th minute, when forward Kevin Gameiro received the ball inside the area but wasn't able to clear Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas in a one-on-one situation.

Real, who won their record 11th-title last year, are trying to become the first team to win back-to-back Champions League titles since the competition's new format began.

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