Sep 13, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 71,060
Real Madrid
Ronaldo (12', 51' pen.), Ramos (61')
Carvajal (52')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Sallai (53'), Ebecilio (63'), Farias (90')

Live Commentary: Real Madrid 3-0 APOEL - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the Champions League clash between Real Madrid and APOEL at the Bernabeu, which ended in a 3-0 home win.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid opened their 2017-18 Champions League Group H campaign with a 3-0 win over APOEL on Wednesday night.

Ronaldo netted once in either half at the Bernabeu, while Sergio Ramos was also on the scoresheet during a comfortable evening for the reigning European champions.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

6.46pmEvening all! Sports Mole's live Champions League coverage continues from the Bernabeu as the reigning European champions Real Madrid open their Group H campaign at home to Cypriot side APOEL. It should be a routine win for the hosts tonight, but Zinedine Zidane's side will enter this match off the back of successive La Liga draws at the Bernabeu. Stay tuned for the action!

6.49pmThese two teams actually met in the quarter-finals of the 2011-12 Champions League, and Real Madrid ran out 8-2 winners on aggregate to steam into the semi-finals. A 3-0 victory in Nicosia saw Los Blancos take a big lead in the tie, before winning 5-2 in Madrid one week later. Can APOEL pull off a major shock against the European champions tonight? Stay tuned right here to find out.

6.52pmRight, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news from the Spanish capital. Has Zidane rung the changes following Saturday's 1-1 draw with Levante? What about APOEL - any shocks? Let's run through the two XIs that will start this Group H fixture in Spain...

Cristiano Ronaldo in action during the Supercopa de Espana first-leg match between Barcelona and Real Madrid on August 13, 2017© Offside


REAL: Navas; Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric; Isco, Ronaldo, Bale

APOEL: Waterman; Vouros, Rueda, Carlao, Lago; Sallai, Morais, Ebecilio, Vinicius, Aloneftis; De Camargo

6.58pmCristiano Ronaldo is available for Real Madrid for the first time since receiving a red card in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on August 13, and the Portuguese, as expected, starts tonight. Keylor Navas, Casemiro, Gareth Bale, Isco and Mateo Kovacic also all come into the team following the home draw with Levante at the weekend, but Marco Asensio misses out with an injected "pimple", while Karim Benzema is on the sidelines with a hamstring problem. Toni Kroos drops to the bench tonight.

7.02pmAs for APOEL, former Celta Vigo full-back Roberto Lago is included, while Belgian forward Igor de Camargo will lead the line for a team that will start in a 4-5-1 formation at the Bernabeu. Lago is one of two Spaniards in the APOEL XI as Jesus Rueda, formerly of Real Valladolid, is also selected.

7.05pmSo there we have it. The two teams are in, and we are now just about 40 minutes from kickoff on this extremely warm evening at the Bernabeu. I shall speak about the away side a little bit later, but let's start with Real Madrid. It would be fair to say that it has been a frustrating couple of weeks at the Bernabeu, with Zidane's side dropping four points in their last two home league fixtures.

Luka Modric in action during the La Liga game between Barcelona and Real Madrid on December 3, 2016© SilverHub

7.08pmIndeed, a 2-2 draw with Valencia before the international break was followed by a 1-1 draw against Levante on Saturday afternoon, which has left the Spanish champions four points behind the leaders Barcelona, albeit at a very early stage of the season. Real Madrid have a tough trip to high-flying Real Sociedad in the league this weekend, but tonight is all about the Champions League.

7.12pmLos Blancos became the first team in the modern era to successfully defend the Champions League when they recorded a 4-1 win over Juventus in Cardiff at the start of June. Champions in three of the last four campaigns, Real Madrid have not lost a home group game in almost eight years, and will be extremely confident of starting their campaign with all three points tonight.


7.18pmIn 21 previous participations in the Champions League, Real Madrid have never failed to progress from the initial group stage. Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur make up a very interesting group, and although Zidane's side are the firm favourites to top the section, they will have to play well to finish ahead of Dortmund and Tottenham, who meet at Wembley tonight.

7.22pmReal Madrid, who have not lost a home Champions League group game since October 2009, have also won all six of their previous meetings with Cypriot clubs – scoring 34 times in the process and conceding just three. What's more, the Spanish giants have won 31 of their last 36 home Champions League matches, which is an indication of the task facing APOEL in tonight's match.

7.25pmThere is some pressure on Real Madrid tonight considering their two previous results at the Bernabeu, however, and the fact that their next Champions League game is away to Dortmund means that this is a very important match. The last thing that Los Blancos need is to drop points tonight and already be under a little bit of pressure in Germany on September 26.


7.32pmAs for APOEL, the Cypriot giants opened their 2017-18 league season with a 4-1 win at Nea Salamis on Saturday. Indeed, their first two league matches of the new campaign were postponed in order to fully concentrate on the Champions League. They had to come through the qualifying rounds to book a spot in the group stage – beating F91 Dudelange and FC Viitorul of Luxembourg and Romania respectively, before overcoming Czech outfit Slavia Praha 2-0 on aggregate in the playoff round.

7.35pmThis will be the fourth time that APOEL have competed in the group stage of the Champions League, and their best showing, as mentioned, was the quarter-finals during the 2011-12 campaign. Worryingly, APOEL have lost on seven of their last eight visits to Spain, although they did manage to pick up a point in a goalless draw with Atletico Madrid during the 2009-10 competition.

7.38pmA fifth successive Cypriot league title last season saw APOEL make the qualifying rounds of the 2017-18 competition, and they have certainly earned their spot in the group stages. It is a massive ask to even finish third, however, in a group that also includes Dortmund and Tottenham. Any points that APOEL gain in Group H will be seen as a positive. Right, kickoff is now just around the corner!

7.42pmHere we go then. Both sets of players have joined us on the pitch ahead of kickoff at the Bernabeu. Once the pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged, we will be just about ready to get the action underway. It is a very, very warm night in Madrid!

0 minKICKOFF! Real Madrid kick things off in Madrid...

2 min... just a reminder that Tottenham welcome Dortmund in the other match in this group, and you can also follow live coverage of that game on Sports Mole. As expected, Real Madrid have taken control of the early possession, and Ronaldo has already been chopped down by Rueda in a wide area.

4 minIt must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium tonight, with the APOEL supporters in fine voice. Not too much to report in terms of opportunities in the opening four minutes, but Real Madrid have been enjoying possession in APOEL's half of the field.

5 minCasemiro looks to have a problem for Real Madrid after a strong challenge with De Camargo.

5 minDe Camargo actually fell on top of Casemiro, and the Brazilian looks in pain here.

6 minBoth Casemiro and De Camargo are fit to continue, and play resumes with APOEL looking to break down the right. Six minutes on the clock, and this famous stadium is absolutely bouncing here.

8 minIt has been a very stop-start match in the early moments, with Marcelo the latest player to hit the deck following a late challenge. Real Madrid are the team on the front foot, however, as the champions look to make the early breakthrough. Ronaldo has been extremely bright thus far tonight.

10 minTottenham have taken the lead at home to Dortmund, with Son on the scoresheet in that match. Back in Madrid, Real Madrid continue to pass and probe as they look to open this APOEL defence.

10 minBale heads harmlessly wide of the post from a Marcelo cross.

11 minSAVE! Navas has to tip a long-range Lago effort over the crossbar!

12 minGOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 APOEL (Ronaldo)

13 minReal Madrid make the breakthrough in the 12th minute as Ronaldo fires into the bottom corner after meeting a low cross from Bale. It had to be Ronaldo on his return to the team tonight.

15 minHalf-chance for Ronaldo to score his second as the Portuguese meets a deep cross from Bale, but his header is wide of the post. APOEL need to be very careful during this period of the match.

18 minAPOEL just cannot seem to keep hold of the ball at the moment as Real Madrid continue to pass and probe in the final third of the field. Ronaldo might be the wrong side of 30, but he is still the go-to man for Los Blancos, there is no question about that. What an absolute goal machine.

20 minOne-way traffic at the Bernabeu as Real Madrid continue to move the ball in the final third.

21 minIt does not appear that Kovacic will be able to continue here after picking up a muscular problem. There was no contact, but the Croatian immediately hit the ground, and looks in some pain here.

23 minReal Madrid have still not got a replacement on the field for Kovacic!

24 minMy word. There is a lot of strapping going on before the substitution can be made here. Real Madrid do not seem too concerned as they play on with 10 men against the Cypriot champions.

25 minKroos continues to put on what looks like a whole shop's worth of strapping on the sidelines.

25 minREAL MADRID SUB! Finally! Kroos replaces Kovacic, who went off about an hour ago.

27 minIt has been a very stop-start opening 27 minutes at the Bernabeu. It has been a decent game in terms of quality, from both teams, but there has been no real flow to the contest. Ronaldo's goal still separates the two sides, but I would be surprised if we had seen the last of the goals here.

30 minDe Camargo has been pretty solid for APOEL in the final third of the field, with the number nine holding the ball well under pressure from Ramos and Nacho. The visitors have shown their threat in the final third, but they look vulnerable when Real Madrid break with pace and power here.

32 minThere has been a lot of goals in the Champions League already tonight, but just the one at the Bernabeu as things stand. APOEL can be pretty pleased with their first 32 minutes of this match.

33 minBale rises to meet a cross from Kroos, but his header was always wide of the post.

35 minCHANCE! Bale to Ronaldo is the combination once again, but the latter turns wide at the far post. The first-time cross from Ronaldo was absolutely wonderful it must be said.

36 minKroos has a long-range strike deflected wide of the post as APOEL continue to defend their lines. Little under 10 minutes of the first period left to play inside the Bernabeu. Still 1-0 to the hosts here.

38 minCHANCE! Ronaldo fires wide of the post after the ball had broken to the Portuguese inside the APOEL box. It was a toe-poke from the number seven, and it was wide.

40 minRamos takes a chance inside his own box, and the centre-back only just gets away with it after De Camargo brings the Spaniard to the deck. Real Madrid then break down the other end with Modric, but Lago is across to clear ahead of Bale. End-to-end football over the last couple of minutes here.

42 minLittle under five minutes of the first period remaining, and it has been far from vintage Real Madrid. Ronaldo's goal is the difference, but APOEL are still very much in this football match.

44 minCasemiro lifts a clever pass towards Ronaldo, but Rueda is across to make a wonderful challenge, and Waterman can collect above the Portuguese. APOEL then enjoy some possession down the other end, which ends in Vinicius firing harmlessly wide of the post after working some space.

45 min+1We are into the first of three additional minutes at the end of the first period.

45 min+3Comfortable for APOEL at the moment as the visitors keep possession in the middle of the park. The visitors can be extremely pleased with their work in the first period of this European tie.

45 min+3Ronaldo misses the far post after cutting onto his right foot from the left.

45 min+4HALF-TIME: Real Madrid 1-0 APOEL

8.33pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Real Madrid leading APOEL 1-0 courtesy of a 12th-minute Ronaldo goal on his return to the team. The home side might have stretched their advantage, but APOEL have also demonstrated their threat in the final third of the field.

8.38pmSTATISTICS! Real Madrid have dominated the first-half possession with 63%, while they had 12 attempts in the first period, but just one of those was on target. APOEL, meanwhile, hit the target with one of their three attempts. No yellow cards to report - it has not been that type of match.

8.43pmBENCH WATCH! APOEL have options in the shape of Mickael Pole, Nektarios Alexandrou and Ghayas Zahid on their bench tonight. Real Madrid have already been forced into a change - Kroos replacing the injured Kovacic, but Vasquez, Ceballos and Mayoral are all still in reserve for the hosts.

46 minRESTART! APOEL resume the action here...

47 min... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second period develops here.

47 minCROSSBAR! Ronaldo meets a super cross from Carvajal, and the Portuguese's effort hits the underside of the crossbar before bouncing clear. So close to a second for Real Madrid!

48 minRonaldo thought that the ball had bounced over the line, but that was not the case. It was so close!


51 minReal Madrid are awarded a penalty as Lago is adjudged to have handled inside the box!

51 minGOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 APOEL (Ronaldo, pen)

52 minRonaldo slides his penalty into the bottom corner for 2-0 Real Madrid on the night.

52 minBOOKING! Carvajal (Real Madrid) is booked for a poor tackle on Lago.

53 minBOOKING! Sallai (APOEL) is booked for a late challenge on Kroos.

54 minSAVE! Waterman makes a smart save to keep out Isco's effort after Ronaldo had been bundled to the ground inside the box. Super work from the APOEL goalkeeper there.

56 minRonaldo is chasing another hat-trick tonight, and it would take a brave man to bet against that happening. Still more than 30 minutes of football to play in this Champions League clash.

58 minKroos has a go from distance after a period of Real Madrid possession, but the German's effort was always moving wide of the post. The APOEL supporters remain in wonderful voice here.

60 minThere is some movement on the APOEL bench as the visitors prepare to make a change with little over 30 minutes of football remaining at the Bernabeu. Just a reminder that Real Madrid have already been forced into a change tonight - Kroos replacing Kovacic in the first period.

61 minIsco misses the crossbar with an effort from the edge of the box.

61 minAPOEL SUB! Farias replaces Sallai for the away side.

61 minGOAL! Real Madrid 3-0 APOEL (Ramos)

62 minRamos scores Real Madrid's third of the night as the centre-back produces a wonderful over-head kick inside the APOEL box. It was sensational from the Real Madrid captain!

63 minBOOKING! Ebecilio (APOEL) is booked for a late challenge on Kroos.

65 minHalf-chance for Bale as Carvajal finds the Welshman with a cross, but his header was always moving wide of the post. Still more than 25 minutes of football remaining in the Spanish capital.

68 minAPOEL are really struggling at the moment as Real Madrid continue to move the ball in the final third of the field. The visitors were impressive in the first period, but that has changed since the break.

68 minSAVE! Smart save from Waterman to keep out Ronaldo's low effort.

70 minLittle over 20 minutes of football remaining at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid still lead 3-0 here.

72 minAPOEL are preparing to make their second change of the match with 72 minutes on the clock.

73 minREAL MADRID SUB! Ceballos replaces Isco for Real Madrid.

73 minAPOEL SUB! Zahid replaces Ebecilio for the away side.

76 minRonaldo's header is away from goal rather than towards it as APOEL survive another dangerous moment. The visitors then look to break forward down the right, but white shirts are back.

76 minDe Camargo misses the Real Madrid post with a snap shot inside the home side's box.

78 minNot an awful lot to report in terms of chances in the last few minutes, but Real Madrid continue to move the ball in the final third as the Spanish champions look for a fourth on the night.

80 minModric looks to find Ronaldo with a cross from deep, but the Croatian's pass had too much weight, and APOEL can resume from the dead-ball line. Little over 10 minutes remaining in the capital.

82 minREAL MADRID SUB! Mayoral replaces Bale in Real Madrid's third change.

84 minAPOEL SUB! Pote replaces De Camargo in APOEL's final change.

85 minGOAL DISALLOWED! Ronaldo fires home from close range, but the flag is raised! Replays have shown that it was indeed the correct decision. Still two for the Portuguese.

88 minCasemiro heads into the arms of the APOEL goalkeeper as we head for the final stages of this match. In truth, the away side will be desperate for the referee to blow at 90 minutes here.

90 minNot too much to report in the last couple of minutes as the full-time whistle draws closer.

90 minBOOKING! Farias (APOEL) is booked for a late tackle on Marcelo.

90 min+1We are into the first of three additional minutes at the end of the 90 here.

90 min+3Real Madrid force the issue with a series of crosses into the APOEL box, but strong defending from the visitors sees the danger cleared. We are into the very final moments of this European tie.

90 min+4FULL-TIME: Real Madrid 3-0 APOEL

9.38pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Real Madrid opening their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 win over APOEL at the Bernabeu. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live European coverage once again. Until next time!

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Real Madrid attacker Marco Asensio celebrates scoring against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup second leg on August 16, 2017
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