Ronaldo stars as Real repel strong Shakhtar rally
LVIV: Cristiano Ronaldo sparkled as Real Madrid, who had already sealed a place in the last 16 of the Champions League, clinched top spot in Group A with a remarkable 4-3 win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.
Ronaldo scored after 18 and 70 minutes while Luka Modric (50) and Dani Carvajal (52) also struck to put the 10-times European champions in complete command on a freezing night in western Ukraine.
The temperature then soared quickly, on the field at least, as Shakhtar netted three times in the closing stages.
Brazilian midfielder Alex Teixeira converted a penalty after 77 minutes before Dentinho chested the ball into the net from a corner.
Teixeira was again on target with an elegant drive in the 88th minute as the hosts gave Real a huge fright.
Real have 13 points from five matches, three ahead of Paris St Germain who also qualified by beating Malmo 5-0 in Sweden.
PSG are sure to finish second because they have an inferior head to head record against Real. Shakhtar and Malmo both have three points and are eliminated.
Ronaldo opened the scoring with a header and grabbed his second goal of the night on the rebound after his initial attempt was blocked by a defender.
The Portugal forward also played a part in the other two goals by the visitors before Shakhtar came storming back as Real conceded their first goals in this year's competition.
"Both teams have strong attacking instincts and this is why we saw so many goals tonight," said Real coach Rafa Benitez.
"I think we should analyse all the goals we conceded but I am sure it is not due to the mistakes of our defenders, it is because Shakhtar's players combined so well.
"Sometimes we lack concentration but more important is that we scored four goals in an away game. It may be an indication of the team's revival," added Benitez who came under fire after Real were thumped 4-0 by La Liga rivals Barcelona on Saturday.
Taison was involved in two of Shakhtar's goals and coach Mircea Lucescu said his side sparked into life when the Brazilian midfielder came on as a 62nd-minute substitute.
"The final 20 minutes were the most positive moments. I think our team only woke up after Taison went on," said Lucescu.