Real Madrid 4 – AJ Auxerre 0


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Switzerland World Cup defender STEPHANE GRICHTING of AJ Auxerre is all set to tackle the ball away from Real Madrid’s France international striker KARIM BENZEMA (9) at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in the capital city of Spain. (Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
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UEFA Champions League
Group Stage
12/8/2010

4 – Real Madrid (SPA) ——— Benzema 12′, 72′, 88′, Ronaldo 49′
0 – AJ Auxerre (FRA)

A quick strike a dozen minutes into the match and a second four minutes after the start of the second half was more than enough to enable Spanish La Liga giant REAL MADRID to sweep visiting French Ligue 1 side AJ AUXERRE aside 4-0 in Group G of the UEFA Champions League.

Banned from the bench once again, Portuguese manager JOSE MOURINHO wisely fielded mostly reserves for Real Madrid’s final game at the group stage although, for their part, the Burgundy club still had the opportunity at third place and UEFA Europa League football in the spring.

France international striker KARIM BENZEMA adding a fading element to those hopes with a goal in only the 12th minute of the match. A curling ball from Portugal World Cup star CRISTIANO RONALDO was allowed to bounce inside the six — always a sign of impending disaster. A diving Benzema was on hand to make sure of the destruction.

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After making a splendid reaction save from the point-blank header to evoke memories of England’s Gordon Banks at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Poland international goalkeeper JERZY DUDEK of Real Madrid eyes the rebound in front of AJ Auxerre’s Poland international fullback DARIUSZ DUDKA (5) at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. (Felix Ordonez/Reuters)
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AJ Auxerre might have evened the match in the first half but were denied thanks to a pair of superb saves from Real Madrid’s reserve goalkeeper, the seldom-used Poland international JERZY DUDEK. The 37-year-old veteran pulled off an outstanding save to thwart the close-range header of Auxerre’s seasoned defender JEAN-PASCAL MIGNOT and, at least for this blog, evoked memories of England’s Gordon Banks at the 1970 World Cup with the way he was able to get down so quickly. Later, Dudek just got his fingertips to the shot of Kenya international winger DENNIS OLIECH.

Unfortunately, Dudek broke his jaw in a collison with Auxerre striker RAY CONTOUT and needed to come off just as the first half was concluding.

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Real Madrid goalkeeper JERZY DUDEK, the veteran Poland international with 59 caps signed on a free transfer from English club FC Liverpool in the summer of 2007, follows the ball to safety after an excellent fingertip save at full stretch from the not-pictured Kenya international winger DENNIS OLIECH of AJ Auxerre in the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. (Paul White/AP)
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In the 49th minute, Brazil international defender MARCELO led a rush and provided a ball for Ronaldo on the right. The planet’s most expensive player strode forward and easily shot past AJ Auxerre goalkeeper OLIVER SORIN to score his fourth goal of this UEFA Champions League season. Overall, Ronaldo now counts 21 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid this term.

Benzema, still trying to justify the enormous 35.0 million Euro transfer fee paid to French side Olympique Lyon, levied a pair in the second half to record his first-ever hat trick for Real Madrid.

The 22-year-old striker latched onto to a long ball from another France international who arrived with a pricey transfer tag, midfielder LASSANA DIARRA, and lashed a left-footed drive past Sorin to score a second in the 72nd minute; a dreadful distribution error by the Auxerre goalkeeper gifted Benzema a third with a delightful chip into the empty net less than two minutes to go.

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Featuring several different faces and with Poland international goalkeeper JERZY DUDEK in the first team for the first time all season, the starting XI for Real Madrid pose for the traditional pre-match photograph before battling French side AJ Auxerre at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in the capital city of Espana. (Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
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REAL MADRID : Dudek (Adan 45+4′) ; Marcelo (Garay 76′), Carvalho, Albiol, Arbeloa ; Leon, M. Diarra, L. Diarra, Granero ; Benzema, Ronaldo (Sarabia 72′)

AJ AUXERRE : Sorin ; Dudka, Coulibaly, Grichting, Mignot ; Traore, Birsa (Langil 89′), Pedretti (Sammaritano 62′), Chafni, Oliech ; Contout (Querica 72′)

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(Juan Medina/Reuters)
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(Juan Medina/Reuters)
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(Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
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(Andres Kudacki/AP)
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(Pierre-Philippe Marcou/Getty Images)
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MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

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