MADRID — Cristiano Ronaldo scored a record equaling goal before exiting to an apparent injury as Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0 on Wednesday to take a big step toward the Champions League semifinals.
Ronaldo netted his 14th goal of the season in Europe’s top competition to give Madrid a clear advantage ahead of next week’s quarterfinal return leg in Germany. But it came at a price as the Portugal forward, who came into the first-leg nursing a sore left knee, came off in the 80th minute.
Gareth Bale scored early and Isco added another before the half hour mark at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
The Spaniards opened against Dortmund as the Germans had against them in the semifinals last season — when they thrashed Madrid 4-1 en route to reaching the final with a 4-3 victory on aggregate.
In Wednesday’s other quarterfinal first leg, Paris Saint-Germain beat Chelsea 3-1 in the French capital.
Madrid certainly didn’t need inspiration after last seasons’ loss to Dortmund, which was without suspended striker Robert Lewandowski and five more regulars to injury.
The energetic start saw Bale nearly miss Dani Carvajal’s short pass inside the area before stretching to toe poke his fifth goal of the competition under goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller after just three minutes.
Weidenfeller was sharp despite Madrid’s early onslaught as he punched free kicks from Ronaldo and Bale over the bar. He also stayed in the game despite wincing in pain after Marco Reus made a clearance that also connected with the `keeper’s hands.
Madrid, which is vying for a record 10th European Cup, is now on the cusp of a fourth straight appearance in the semifinals — a welcome lift after a difficult run in the Spanish league.
In Tuesday’s matches, defending champion Bayern Munich drew 1-1 at Manchester United, and Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 at Barcelona.