Ronaldo leads Madrid against Ajax in Champions

MADRID — Fresh off his second hat trick of the season, Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to lead Real Madrid over Ajax in Group D of the Champions League on Tuesday.

By (AP)

Published: Mon 26 Sep 2011, 6:50 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:17 PM

Ronaldo spurred Madrid’s offense in Saturday’s 6-2 win against Rayo Vallecano, although the Spanish club’s defense is struggling with a number of players missing because of injury.

Ajax was held to a 0-0 draw with Lyon in its first match two weeks ago. On Saturday, the Dutch team conceded a late goal in a 1-1 draw against FC Twente in league play.

Madrid leads Group D with three points after opening with a 1-0 victory against Dinamo Zagreb. The Croatians play at Lyon on Tuesday.

Madrid had little trouble beating Ajax last year by a combined score of 6-0 in group play on its way to the semifinals.

While Ronaldo took his season tally to eight goals to stop Madrid’s two-game winless run, the nine-time European champions have struggled against weaker opponents recently. And Madrid will have to tone down its aggressive play that has seen it end three of last four games with 10 men.

“During the past week we haven’t had the same spark as other times and we hope that on Tuesday we win and can play a great game,” Madrid defender Raul Albiol said.

Ricardo Carvalho returns to Madrid’s defense after missing one game with a concussion, while Mourinho can count on Turkey midfielder Hamit Altintop for the first time since joining from Bayern Munich in the offseason.

With forward Miralem Sulejmani back from a hamstring injury, Ajax will look to use its speed against a defense missing the suspended Marcelo and injured pair Pepe and Fabio Coentrao.

Ajax is unbeaten in 13 straight Dutch league matches and still leads the overall record between the pair with four wins to Madrid’s three.

In France, Lyon will try to improve an attack that provided only one shot on goal in its group opener.

Lyon will be without Argentine striker Lisandro Lopez (ankle) and defensive specialist Cris (leg) as it vies to reach the knockout stage for a ninth consecutive year.

Dinamo midfielder Milan Badelj said Lyon was a strong team but still believes his team can get an important away victory.

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