Gareth Bale opened the scoring as Real Madrid swept to a 5-1 victory over Legia Warsaw in the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo remains two short of 100 career goals in European competition, but Bale, an own-goal by Tomasz Jodlowiec, and further strikes by Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and Alvaro Morata sealed an emphatic victory in Group F.
The win allowed Madrid to keep pace with Borussia Dortmund, which held on for a 2-1 win at Sporting Lisbon. Madrid and Dortmund have seven points each after three matches, with Sporting staying on three points and Legia with zero.
Ronaldo entered Tuesday’s game having scored six goals in his last three matches, including five for Portugal in World Cup qualifying, but the forward failed to find the net despite a few good scoring chances.
His best opportunities came late, first with low shot that missed the far corner in the 83rd minute and then with a close-range strike that was saved in the 88th.
Ronaldo had been crucial when Madrid rallied late to beat Sporting in its last home game in the Champions League.
On Tuesday, Madrid looked vulnerable in defense during the early stages, but stayed mostly in control despite conceding a penalty that cut the team’s lead to 2-1 in the 22nd minute.
Bale had opened the scoring with a cross shot into the far corner from inside the area in the 16th, and Madrid quickly added to the lead when a shot by Marcelo deflected off defender Jodlowiec and into the net in the 20th.
Miroslav Radovic converted the penalty for Legia after being fouled by Madrid defender Danilo, but Asensio restored Madrid’s two-goal advantage after a short pass by Ronaldo in the 37th.
Madrid’s substitutes increased its lead in the second half, with Vazquez scoring in the 68th and Morata, set up by a pass by Ronaldo, in the 84th.
Madrid was without defender Sergio Ramos and midfielders Luka Modric and Casemiro because of injuries.