Real Madrid (3) 3-0 (2) VfL Wolfsburg: Ronaldo runs riot to pip Wolves to semi-final spot

Despite weathering the Spanish storm of conceding two early goals, Wolfsburg were knocked out by Real Madrid as Cristiano Ronaldo ran riot to steal the show.

Real Madrid (3) 3-0 (2) VfL Wolfsburg: Ronaldo runs riot to pip Wolves to semi-final spot
Image credit: kicker - Getty Images
Real Madrid (3)
3 0
VfL Wolfsburg (2)
Real Madrid (3): (4-3-3) Navas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos (c), Marcelo; Modrić (Varane, min. 90+2), Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema (Jesé, min. 84), Ronaldo.
VfL Wolfsburg (2): (4-2-3-1) Benaglio (c); Vieirinha, Naldo, Dante, Rodríguez; Guilavogui (Dost, min. 80), Gustavo; Henrique (Caliguiri, min. 72), Arnold, Draxler (Kruse, min. 31); Schürrle.
SCORE: 1-0, min. 15, Ronaldo. 2-0, min. 16, Ronaldo. 3-0, min. 77, Ronaldo.
REFEREE: Viktor Kassai (HUN). Booked: Arnold (min. 47), Gustavo (min. 76), Ronaldo (min. 80), Dante (min. 85), Vieirinha (min. 90+1).

In a hotly-contested match at the Santiago Bernabéu, Real Madrid proved their critics wrong and overcame their first-leg defeat to book a place in the semi-finals at the expense of VfL Wolfsburg.

Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice in a matter of minutes, before essentially putting the Castilians ahead from a typical free-kick.

Explosive start

As expected, Real Madrid came firing out of the blocks in pressuring Wolfsburg as soon as the match kicked off. The home side's early persistence paid off as a Dani Carvajal cross took a very lucky deflection off of the unaware Maxi Arnold and a certain Ronaldo had the state of mind to pounce and gift Los Blancos an early lead.

Things went from bad to worse for the away side. A corner ensued from Madrid winning the ball back quickly after the restart, and, in a matter of minutes, Wolfsburg's impressive two-goal lead from the first leg evaporated - A potent corner kick from ex-Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos saw Ronaldo rise highest in front of the congested area to expertly head home the aggregate equaliser past the overwhelmed Diego Benaglio.

The Wolves claw on to the match

To their credit, die Wölfe steadied the nervy ship and, ironically as a result of Julian Draxler being forced off due to injury, began to venture forward in pursuit of a priceless away goal.

Such boldness almost paid off, and, in all honesty, really should have. Following Draxler making way for Max Kruse, André Schürrle was moved out to the left. The Madridista defenders were unable to stop a snapcross from the World Cup winner which fell invitingly for Bruno Henrique, but the Brazilian couldn't sort his feet out accordingly and his delayed shot was smothered wide.

By stark contrast, the second half started significantly calmer, but still one-sided with los Galacticos attempting to hammer down a third goal via a flurry of ineffective set-pieces.

Mid-way through the second-half, there was essence of the home fans on the edge of their seats and the travelling fans fearing the worst as, somehow, Benaglio just about managed to stop a header from crossing the line with the one hand behind his back.

Ronaldo before the decision free-kick. | Photo: picture alliance
Ronaldo before the decision free-kick. | Photo: picture alliance

Madrid pressure pays dividends

Fearing the worst, Wolfsburg continued to give away cheap free-kicks. This time, with Luiz Guastvo being booked for bringing down a quick-thinking Luka Modrić. Unsurprisingly, the raucous Portuguese international stood to take it and a sweet strike scythed through the blue wall to bulge the back of the net and, as a result, completed his hat-trick as well as putting the ten-time winners on the front foot for the first time in the tie.

As Wolfsburg's attacking efforts were left in vain, the home side countered and countered well. Similar efforts from Karim Benzema and substitute Jesé, cutting in from the left, saw Benaglio called up to keep his side in the tie, pulling off two brilliant saves. Unfortunately, they proved in vain and the Wolves crashed out - they can, however, hold their heads high having pushed the 10-time champions for the entire 180 minutes.