Ten-man Real thrash Galatasaray to seal top spot
By Teresa Larraz Mora
MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid made light of the first-half dismissal of Sergio Ramos to secure a thumping 4-1 win at home to Galatasaray on Wednesday that put them through to the last 16 of the Champions League as Group B winners.
Real dominated the early stages on a chilly and blustery night at the Bernabeu but were rocked back when defender Ramos was shown a straight red card in the 26th minute for impeding forward Umut Bulut when he was through on goal.
The Turkish champions were unable to make their numerical advantage count and Gareth Bale put Real, who were missing injured top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, ahead with a superb free kick 11 minutes later.
Galatasaray leveled within a minute when Didier Drogba sent Bulut clear and he slid the ball past Iker Casillas before fullback Alvaro Arbeloa restored Real's lead when he netted his second Champions League goal six minutes after halftime.
Angel Di Maria struck in the 63rd minute and Isco scored from close range nine minutes from time to seal a comfortable victory for the nine-times European champions, who are chasing the 10th continental crown that has eluded them since their last triumph in 2002.
"I think we started a bit slowly in the first half but later with 10 men the team played very well," Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Canal Plus.
"We controlled the match efficiently and pressured high up the pitch," added the Italian, who was clearly upset with Ramos after he was sent off for the 17th time in his Real career.
With his side virtually assured of a place in the knockout round, Ancelotti included a number of youngsters in his starting lineup with regulars Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema on the bench. Continued...