The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Feb 10, 2013
 

Football: Ronaldo-inspired Madrid ready for United

 
 

MADRID (AFP) - Real Madrid assistant manager Aitor Karanka believes his side are hitting form at the right time as they swept aside Sevilla 4-1 thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick.

The Spanish champions take on Manchester United on Wednesday in the first-leg of their Champions League last-16 tie and Karanka is hoping Ronaldo can carry his recent form into the clash against his former club.

"Cristiano has had the love of the crowd here for some time. The important thing though is for the team to have a player like Cristiano in this form heading into the period we now have," he said.

Coach Jose Mourinho had taken the chance to rest a few important players with Wednesday's game in mind, but it mattered little as Karim Benzema put the hosts in front from barely a yard on 17 minutes before Ronaldo fired a fierce drive past Beto in the Sevilla goal eight minutes later.