Cristiano Ronaldo equaled Real Madrid’s all-time scoring record with both goals in his side’s 2-0 victory over Malmo at Swedbank Stadion on Wednesday. After what by his incredibly high standards was an unusually long barren streak of three games without a goal, Ronaldo scored in each half to take his tally to 323 in all competitions and level with legendary forward Raul.
With his first, coolly put away after a quick break and a through ball from Isco, the former Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United man also grabbed his 500th goal in his career for club and country. He did not have to wait too long for 501. With the match about to enter injury time at the end of the second half, Ronaldo was perfectly placed to turn in Lucas Vazquez’s cross and level Raul’s mark. Remarkably, though Ronaldo’s tally has come in just 308 appearances, 431 fewer than the former Real Madrid captain.
It is not hard to see why current manager Rafael Benitez stated ahead of the contest that he had no concerns whatsoever over Ronaldo’s mini-drought. After a hat-trick in Real Madrid’s opening Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk two weeks ago, last season’s joint top scorer with 10 goals has now already hit the mark five times in this season’s competition.
It was not all plain sailing for his team, though, against a side playing their first ever home match in the Champions League group stage. After a scoreless result at home to Malaga on Saturday, Real Madrid, again missing Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, struggled to open up Malmo as regularly as they surely would have liked.
Ronaldo failed to make a couple of half-chances count in the early going, before Malmo left themselves exposed for the Portuguese to give the visitors a 29th-minute lead. That advantage was so nearly doubled when full-back Dani Carvajal struck an ambitious shot from a tight angle on the half-volley only to see the ball come back off the crossbar.
But, as against Malaga, there was also a glimpse of defensive fragility. Without Sergio Ramos and Pepe due to injury, Real Madrid allowed Markus Rosenberg to meet a right-wing cross in the center of the box, and the Malmo captain really should have found the back of the net rather than directing it wide of Keylor Navas’ right-hand post. The miss was to prove costly, with Ronaldo securing three points and a share of his latest record in the 90th minute.