Cristiano Ronaldo’s Hat-Trick Helps Real Madrid Get Past Wolfsburg
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring a goal. (Photo: AP) 
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring a goal. (Photo: AP) 

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Hat-Trick Helps Real Madrid Get Past Wolfsburg

Cristiano Ronaldo’s fifth Champions League hat-trick inspired Real Madrid to a 3-0 comeback victory over VfL Wolfsburg on Tuesday that clinched a place in the semi-finals for a sixth successive season.

The prolific Portuguese got the 10-times European champions, 2-0 down from the first leg, off to a perfect start by tapping in Daniel Carvajal’s cross after 16 minutes and heading a second goal less than a minute later from Toni Kroos’ corner.

Real Madrid’s Luka Modric fights for the ball against Wolfsburg’s Maximilian Arnold. (Photo: AP) 
Real Madrid’s Luka Modric fights for the ball against Wolfsburg’s Maximilian Arnold. (Photo: AP) 

Ronaldo capped a 3-2 win on aggregate when he curled in a free kick after 77 minutes, his 16th goal in this season’s competition taking him within touching distance of his record of 17 in 2013-14.

He also equalled Barcelona rival Lionel Messi’s record of five Champions League trebles as he took his goal tally in all competitions this season to 46.

Real coach Zinedine Zidane’s only change from the first leg was to replace the much-criticised Danilo at right back with Carvajal.

Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, center, heads the ball as Wolfsburg’s Josuha Guilavogui, left, and Wolfsburg’s Dante try to intercept. (Photo: AP) 
Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, center, heads the ball as Wolfsburg’s Josuha Guilavogui, left, and Wolfsburg’s Dante try to intercept. (Photo: AP) 

Opposite number Dieter Hecking kept the same lineup that served him so well at the Wolfsburg Arena.

Real have a reputation for staging great fightbacks in Europe but they had not overturned a first-leg deficit in the Champions League since 2002 when Zidane, as a player, helped them beat Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Bernabeu after a 2-1 reverse.

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