Real Madrid planted one foot into the semi finals of the Champions League with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the first-leg of the quarter finals at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Two goals from on-loan striker Adebayor and two further goals from Angel Di Maria and Ronaldo apiece saw Real all but secure their passage into the semis after Spurs had Peter Crouch sent-off early for two bookable offences.
Things didn't start out too well for Spurs even before the match started as winger Aaron Lennon had to dropped due to sickness and Jermain Jenas took his place in the starting line-up. However, things went from bad to worse for the visitors as an unmarked Adebayor headed in the opener in as early as the fourth minute. Xabi Alonso whipped in the corner towards Adebyor, who stormed into the air to guide it goalwards and it crept in as Luka Modric, on the line, couldn't react fast enough to stop it.
Two minutes later, Crouch needlessly slid in late on Ramos in an attempt to intercept a short-kick, getting himself his first yellow card of the night. However, if his manager Harry Redknapp had hoped that it would calm him down, he was mistaken. 15 minutes into the game, he hurled himself feet first at Marcelo without any realistic chance of winning the ball awarding himself with a second yellow and a subsequent red card. Being one of Spurs' more experienced Champions League players, he should have carried himself a tad more sensibly.
However, play resumed and Madrid surged forward, coming close on many occasions with some intricate passing moves. Spurs were restricted to some rare counter attacks and on one occassion, the half-fit Bale gallopped down the left to take Dawson's long ball on his chest. However, his near post shot went into the side-netting. As the half moved on, Madrid were imposing themselves on Spurs and one felt it was only a matter of time before Madrid extended their lead. With two minutes left for half-time, Dawson charged down a shot from Di Maria, but it hit is arm and the decibel levels at the Bernabeu immediately rose, all claiming a penalty.Should have been a penalty.
Rafael Van der Vart, largely listless in the first half, was substituted at half time for Defoe and it is fair to say that he didn't have quite the return to Bernabeu which he would have been hoping for. The second half started as the first ended with Madrid pegging back Spurs. Chance after chance came until in the 58th minute, Ronaldo took a quick corner to Marcelo who lifted it into the box. Adebayor was there again and with the well-guided header, he made it 2-0.
That opened the flood gates and Spurs found themselves restricted to just seconds of possession. Real surged forward in a more relaxed manner and in the 72nd minute, Di Maria cut in from the right to smash into the top-left corner with a powerful, swerving left-footed strike. With three minutes to go, Ronaldo rubbed salt into Spurs' wounds when he hit a low, first time volley from inside the box and saw it creep beneath Gomes and into goal.
It was a thoroughly deserved win for Madrid and it is highly doubtful whether Spurs could have stopped the determined Spaniards even with eleven men. They face a huge task if they are to maintain their European run in the second leg on April 13.