Champions League: Cristiano Ronaldo the hat-trick hero for Real Madrid

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CRISTIANO Ronaldo scored a hat-trick and Karim Benzema smashed in a spectacular overhead kick last night to give Real Madrid a 4-1 victory over Ajax in the Champions League.

Ronaldo scored in the 42nd minute, and added two more in the 79th and 81st to seal the win after Niklas Moisander’s 56th minute header had made it 2-1 and briefly given Ajax hope.

But Ronaldo took his Champions League career tally to 42 with two late strikes for a morale-boosting win for Madrid ahead of this weekend’s league clash with arch-rivals Barcelona.

Benzema’s 48th-minute strike was the highlight. The France striker hit a powerful overhead volley that left Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer clutching at thin air. The win sent Madrid to the top of Group D and left Ajax pointless after two games.

In Group C, meanwhile, a late own goal by Slovak defender Tomas Hubocan gave AC Milan a 3-2 win over Zenit St Petersburg in Russia. Milan went ahead courtesy of a powerful free kick from Urby Emanuelson and Stephan El Shaarawy doubled the lead. Brazilian forward Hulk sparked a Zenit comeback and and Roman Shiroko equalised with a header, before the own goal dashed the Russians’ hopes of a first point in the section.