Ron­aldo 2 goals shy of 100 in Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tions

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Un­less Cristiano Ron­aldo sud­denly de­cides to add mercy to his list of virtues, the Real Madrid for­ward will have a good shot at scor­ing his 100th goal in Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion today.

Ron­aldo, who once aptly de­scribed him­self as "rich, hand­some and a great player," is two goals short of that land­mark be­fore Madrid visits Le­gia War­saw in the Champions League today.

The Por­tu­gal for­ward ar­rives primed for more goals af­ter re­cov­er­ing his ruth­less touch on Satur­day, when he scored his 38th ca­reer hat trick in a 4-1 win at Alaves in the Span­ish league.

Ron­aldo is the all-time lead­ing scorer in the Champions League, with 95 of his Euro­pean goals com­ing in the tour­na­ment he helped Madrid win for a record 11th time last sea­son.

But Barcelona ri­val Lionel Messi has closed the gap with Ron­aldo in their never-end­ing scor­ing duel af­ter net­ting six goals to lead the Champions League this sea­son. That's com­pared to Ron­aldo's two so far. Messi has 89 Champions League goals, and 92 in all UEFA com­pe­ti­tions.

Le­gia looks like easy pickings for Ron­aldo. The Pol­ish team has lost all three group matches and con­ceded a tour­na­ment-high 13 goals.

And its play­ers will face Madrid all alone at Wo­jska Pol­skiego Sta­dium, whose doors will be closed to the pub­lic by UEFA as a penalty for fans' racist be­hav­ior and the fire­works thrown dur­ing a pre­vi­ous loss to Borus­sia Dort­mund.

Madrid, which beat Le­gia 5-1 in their first meet­ing without any goals from Ron­aldo, are un­de­feated in 26 matches across all com­pe­ti­tions dat­ing back to last sea­son's quar­ter­fi­nals. They have won their last five matches over­all by the com­bined score of 24-5.

Gareth Bale will also be ea­ger to shine af­ter sign­ing a new con­tract with Madrid through 2022.

The only worry for Madrid is the ab­sence of in­jured cen­ter backs Pepe and Ser­gio Ramos.

Madrid will qual­ify for the last 16 if it wins and Dort­mund beats Sport­ing Lis­bon in the other Group F match.

Here are some oth­ers things to know about today's matches:

GROUP E Group E is prov­ing to be this sea­son's most com­pet­i­tive quar­tet.

Only three points sep­a­rate leader Monaco from last-place CSKA Moscow be­fore they meet in the Mediter­ranean prin­ci­pal­ity. Monaco has been boosted this cam­paign by the ar­rival of Poland de­fender Kamil Glik, whose late goal earned a draw against Bayer Lev­erkusen.

Tot­ten­ham hosts Lev­erkusen with both sides hop­ing for a win com­bined with a Monaco slip to move to the top of the group. Spurs haven't won in five matches across all com­pe­ti­tions without in­jured striker Harry Kane.

GROUP F Dort­mund, like Madrid, can ad­vance with a win over Sport­ing Lis­bon.

Mario Goetze, who re­turned to Dort­mund this sea­son from Bay­ern Mu­nich, has shown some flashes of his rich tal­ent. But more will be needed for Dort­mund make an­other run to the fi­nal like in 2013, which Goetze missed be­cause of in­jury.

"To do it would be my big­gest dream come true. I've been work­ing ev­ery day for it," Goetze said. "Yet that was a long time ago. I'm fo­cus­ing on the fu­ture and on this Champions League sea­son. It's not go­ing to be easy next time against Sport­ing."

GROUP G Its Premier League ti­tle de­fense may be in se­ri­ous trou­ble, but Le­ices­ter City is out­per­form­ing the other English sides in its first foray in the Champions League.

Three wins in as many matches mean Le­ices­ter can seal a place in the knock­out rounds with an­other win over FC Copen­hagen.

In the other group match, FC Porto wel­comes Brugge hop­ing to break a run of four home matches without a vic­tory in Europe.

GROUP H Ju­ven­tus and Sevilla are level at the top of Group H and can go through with vic­to­ries in their re­spec­tive home matches against Lyon and Di­namo Za­greb.

Ju­ven­tus faces Lyon fresh off an en­cour­ag­ing 2-1 win over do­mes­tic ri­val Napoli, which al­lowed it to build a four-point lead in Serie A.

Sevilla will be without mid­fielder Samir Nasri, who has been play­ing well for the An­dalu­sian side on loan from Manch­ester City.

Nasri scored Sevilla's win­ner in a 1-0 vic­tory in Za­greb. He then picked up a left leg mus­cle in­jury over the week­end.

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