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Ronaldo fires holders Real to easy victory over APOEL

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Ronaldo fires holders Real to easy victory over APOEL

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By Richard Martin (Reuters) – An imperious Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice on his first competitive start of the season as Real Madrid beat APOEL Nicosia 3-0 on Wednesday to get their quest for a third successive Champions League crown off on the right note. Ronaldo has been banned from domestic football since August for pushing a referee and only needed 12 minutes to get back amongst the goals in the competition where he is the all-time top scorer, meeting Gareth Bale’s low cross to arrow home. The Portuguese struck the underside of the crossbar early in the second half then moments later hit his 109th Champions League goal by powering home from the spot after APOEL’s Spanish defender Roberto Lago was harshly penalised for handball. Captain Sergio Ramos rubber-stamped what was a routine victory for Madrid over the Cypriot champions with a scrappy overhead kick in the 61st minute. Ronaldo was denied another penalty and a potential hat-trick when he was tripped in the area but his appeals went unnoticed, while late in the game he had a goal chalked off for a clear offside.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Rex Gowar)
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