Madrid, Sep 14 (IANS) Cristiano Ronaldo returned with two goals to steer Real Madrid to a comfortable win over APOEL Nicosia in their opening Champions League football tournament game of the season.
Ronaldo has not played in the Liga Santander this season following his sending off in the Spanish Supercup against Barcelona and Madrid had noticed his absence as chances went begging in two home draws against Valencia and Levante, reports Xinhua news agency.
However, the Portuguese international wasted little time in making his presence felt when he put his side ahead against the weakest side in their group following a move involving Isco and Gareth Bale in the 12th minute of the game.
Despite taking the lead it was far from a vintage Madrid display against a rival that threatened little and Zinedine Zidane’s side suffered a setback when midfielder Mateo Kovacic limped off with a hamstring injury in the 25th minute of the game.
Ronaldo saw a shot hit the bar early in the second half, before scoring his second from the penalty spot after the referee blew for handball in the APOEL area.
Sergio Ramos added the third of the night with an overhead kick which fooled the Cypriot goalkeeper after a flick from Bale.
With the result no longer in doubt, Zidane opted to give minutes to midfielder Dani Ceballos, who has not played in the league since being signed from Betis, while young striker Borja Mayoral also got his chance, although neither were able to show much at the end of what was a routine win for the reigning Champions.
This is published unedited from the IANS feed.