Madrid qualifies for knockout stage with 3-1 win

BY foxsports • December 9, 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice Tuesday as Real Madrid qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League by winning 3-1 at Marseille.

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Madrid topped Group C with 13 points ahead of AC Milan, which finished second with nine points after drawing 1-1 at FC Zurich.

"It was a tough game but we knew what to expect," Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini said. "We perfectly dealt with this game to qualify. We were solid, we controlled the game."

Marseille, which had to secure at least a 3-0 victory to advance to the last 16, has seven points and will play in the Europa League.

Ronaldo, the Champions League's top scorer with six goals so far this season, broke the deadlock in the fifth minute with a 30-meter (yard) free kick.

But Marseille playmaker Lucho Gonzalez, who later missed a penalty in second half, leveled from close range six minutes later.

Madrid's Raul Albiol scored in the 60th and Ronaldo added his second in the 80th after a mistake by goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

Marseille coach Didier Deschamps acknowledged Madrid's superiority but rued his side's missed penalty.

"We had the chance to level but we missed this penalty 20 minutes from the end," he said. "It was morale-sapping. Of course I knew Marseille and Madrid were not playing at the same level. Now I know it even more."

Pellegrini started with forward Gonzalo Higuain partnering Ronaldo in attack, leaving France striker Karim Benzema on the bench, while Rafael Van der Vaart replaced injured playmaker Kaka.

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