SPORTS: Real Madrid 3 – 0 APOEL [Champions League] Highlights 2017/18 [Video]
Zinedine Zidane’s side get off to a winning start.
Ronaldo to the rescue for Real
Real have struggled in front of goal in grinding to two draws in three matches of a below-par opening to the new La Liga season.
To add to those concerns striker Karim Benzema suffered a hamstring injury in the weekend’s 1-1 draw with Levante.
Cristiano Ronaldo is currently serving a five-match ban for pushing the referee after being sent off in Real’s Spanish Super Cup clash with Barcelona.
That ban does not extend to the Champions League however, so Ronaldo’s presence provides a timely boost to boss Zinedine Zidane’s resources.
Can APOEL spring a shock?
Real thumped APOEL 8-2 in the 2011/12 quarter-finals, so the Cypriot visitors know the full might of their hosts on Wednesday.
APOEL striker Mickael Pote summed up the magnitude of the trip by telling a press conference: “Playing at the Bernabeu will be a dream come true.
“We will definitely enjoy the occasion but we want to disturb them. Now whether or not we can do that remains to be seen.”
What formation will Zidane choose?
Benzema’s injury leaves Real boss Zidane weighing his options in terms of attacking set-up. A straight 4-4-2 would allow Real to pair the returning Ronaldo and Gareth Bale up front.
A 4-3-3 could suit Bale’s needs, while the 4-4-2 option might allow more opportunities for Isco.
Zidane told a press conference on Tuesday “we might go with something new” given Benzema’s injury.
Whatever the boss has up his sleeve, Real will definitely be hunting goals and a return to top form.
How will APOEL cope without Efrem?
Cyprus winger Georgios Efrem remains sidelined with shoulder trouble, and will be a real miss for APOEL.
New recruit Roland Sallai impressed on his league debut however, and could slot in as the visitors bid to offset the loss of one of their top talents.
Cristiano Ronaldo was at the double as Real Madrid started their Champions League defence with a 2-0 win over APOEL.
Cristiano Ronaldo put his domestic frustration behind him by scoring a brace on his Real Madrid return as Los Blancos began their quest for a third straight Champions League title with a routine 3-0 win over APOEL.
The Portugal superstar is still serving the remainder of a five-match ban in Spain for pushing the referee in the Supercopa de Espana, but Ronaldo made up for lost time by once again proving the difference at the Santiago Bernabeu.