Cristiano Ronaldo turned in a vintage performance as he scored twice to give his Real Madrid side a commanding lead against Bayern Munich in their Champions League quarter-final matchup with Bayern Munich.
Robert Lewandowski's absence from the Bayern squad was the big news before kick-off, as the Polish striker and Bundesliga top scorer was left out due to a shoulder injury. The 28-year-old has scored 38 goals in 40 matches this season in all competitions a
But with their first chance of the match, Bayern found the back of the net. In a classic set-piece routine, Arturo Vidal lost Nacho in the middle of the six yard box and met Xabi Alonso's corner with menace. His bullet header was hit so hard that even though it was straight at Keylor Navas, he had no time to react and save it.
In a half of few chances, the Chilean midfielder had a golden opportunity to score his second and double his side's lead five minutes before the break. Robben danced down the right and beat Marcelo, before chipping a perfect cross to the back post. Vidal had peeled off the back of Carvajal and was left to have another free header, but he planted this one wide of the mark.
Ronaldo then decided he had had enough. He collected the ball on the half way line and dribbled towards goal before lining one up from the edge of the area. His shot was accurate and forced a good save from Neuer, who was down quickly to his right to palm the shot round the post.
Then, before the break, Real were given a lifeline. Ribery took on a shot from the edge of the area. Carvajal leant in to block it and was judged to have handled it. The penalty was harsh as it appeared to strike his shoulder, not his arm. Justice was done, however, as Vidal blasted his penalty high over the bar. Some believe that the ball is still rising high into the German sky as you read this now.
Real grabbed hold of that lifeline with both hands, as just one minute and thirty-seven seconds after the break they got the key away goal.
Carvajal provided the cross from the right and Ronaldo swept home the 99th European club goal of his career. Vidal's penalty faux pas became even more damning.
Los Blancos then came in to the ascendency. Manuel Neuer was forced into a miraculous reaction save when Gareth Bale drilled a header goal bound. The German flung himself at the ball and palmed it over the bar with a typically strong hand.
Disaster struck for Bayern thirty minutes from time; Javi Martinez was sent for an early shower after he picked up two bookings in just three minutes. The second was cynical as he cut down Cristiano Ronaldo to prevent a counter-attack. The prospects for the Bavarians suddenly looked bleak after such a strong first half display.
Manuel Neuer was then forced to bail out his team time and time again. He produced some ridiculous saves from Benzema and Ronaldo. The latter was particularly impressive as Ronaldo lashed the ball as hard as he could from ten yards away, but Neuer simply put his hand in front of the ball and - with his super human strength - pushed the ball straight back out again.
But not even he could stop the inevitable. Fifteen minutes from time, Asensio crossed from the left. Ronaldo met the ball with his studs and poked the ball between Neuer's legs to give Real a second away goal and a seemingly unassailable lead. It was Ronaldo's 100th European club goal for his career.
It was a brutal second half for Ancelotti's men, who had been in complete control at the break. They now go to Spain in six days with seemingly impossible odds to overcome.
Bayern Munich: Neuer; Lahm, Javi Martinez, Boateng, Alaba; Thiago, Alonso (Bernat, 64'); Robben, Vidal, Ribery (Costa, 66'); Muller (Coman, 80')
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric (Kovacic, 91'), Casemiro, Kroos; Bale (Asensio, 58'), Benzema (Rodriguez, 83'), Ronaldo