Thursday Kickoff: Ronaldo scores hat-trick in seven-goal thrashing; Man City may replace Hart; and more

CristianoRonaldoRealMadrid1-Sevilla2013 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Cristiano Ronaldo moved into fifth-place on the Real Madrid all-time scoring list on Wednesday evening as his club thrashed Sevilla, 7-3.

The Portuguese international scored a hat-trick in the massive win for Madrid, which saw Gareth Bale also produce a breakout performance with two goals and two assists. Ronaldo scored a penalty kick goal in the first half and then scored twice more in the second half to put the game away after Sevilla had battled back to cut a three-goal deficit to one goal at halftime.

Ronaldo’s goals give him 11 in as many games in La Liga, tying him with Atletico Madrid striker and recent Spanish National Team pledge, Diego Costa. Since moving to Madrid in 2009, Ronaldo has scored 158 goals, two more than legendary forward Ferenc Puskas and six goals behind former Mexico coach Hugo Sanchez.

Here are some more stories to start your Thursday:

MAN CITY MAY REPLACE HART IN GOAL

England’s No. 1 goalkeeper could be facing a longer than expected spell on the sidelines.

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart was replaced with Costel Pantilimon for Man City’s League Cup tie on Wednesday and the Romanian goalkeeper produced a clean sheet in the Sky Blues’ 2-0 victory at Newcastle after extra time.

Hart has produced a series of errors for his club in recent weeks and following the match, Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini hinted that Pantilimon could start between the posts when the club takes on Norwich City on Saturday.

This season, Hart has made 12 appearances in all competitions for Man City, though his error at the end of Man City’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea last Monday could be the last time he sees the pitch for a while.

UEFA PUNISHES CSKA MOSCOW WITH STADIUM CLOSURE

CSKA Moscow’s next UEFA Champions League game will be played with a partial closure in the stadium.

The Russian club was investigated after their 2-1 loss to Manchester City earlier in October after Man City midfielder Yaya Toure said that he was subjected to racist abuse from the partisan crowd. After an investigation by UEFA, the European governing body decided to enforce a partial closure for CSKA’s next UCL home game on November 27 against Bayern Munich.

If CSKA are found guilty of racism again, the next step will be a full stadium closure.

EL TRI DEFEAT FINLAND IN FRIENDLY MATCH

In Mexico’s only preparation match ahead of their crucial playoff-round World Cup qualifying games against New Zealand in November, El Tri pulled off a 4-2 victory against Finland at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif.

Goals from Rafa Marquez, Oribe Peralta, Carlos Peña, and Jesus Escoboza were enough to dispatch the plucky Finns but a goal by Jarkko Hurme and an own goal by Juan Carlos Valenzuela won’t make Mexico feel as good about their defense as they had hoped.

Though they’ve been playing mostly in a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 formation, Mexico debuted their 5-3-2 formation under new coach Miguel Herrera, but even against a short-handed Finland side, the performance reportedly left plenty of questions about the team’s understanding of the system.

QUICK KICKS

Following 10 days on the mend from an ankle injury, Bayern Munich defender Dante has returned to full training ahead of Saturday’s trip to Hoffenheim. (REPORT)

Borussia Dortmund is likely to make the transfer of Nuri Sahin from Real Madrid to Dortmund permanent in January for a fee of €7 million. (REPORT)

Thiago Motta has rejected any claims of him wanting to leave Paris Saint-Germain, saying he is focused on the season at hand. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Ronaldo passing Sanchez in the goals scored chart in November? Do you believe UEFA did enough with their partial closure? Do you see Hart being replaced for the next Man City match?

Share your thoughts below.

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26 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Ronaldo scores hat-trick in seven-goal thrashing; Man City may replace Hart; and more

  1. AcidBurn says:

    Hey Sepp, did those goals look military-stiff-enough for you? Love, Cristiano

    • Increase says:

      Ya, if you read the long version of what Sepp did. He mocked Ronaldo but only said positive things about Messi. If you mock both fine, but he displayed a clear preference to Messi. This is nothing new though, that Sepp can’t keep his mouth shut.

  2. David M says:

    The CSKA punishment is beyond laughable. UEFA ordered closure of just one sector (where the racist chants were coming from). So all those “fans” will just move to a different sector.

    It’s also worth noting that it wasn’t even Finland’s B team. More like C, at best, with the majority of players getting their first caps.

  3. jones says:

    That Madrid match was insane though, could have been more goals for both sides.

    Feel a bit sorry for di Maria – he got subbed in way at the end despite playing so well of late. Embarrassment of riches, I guess. Though I still think he should’ve been sold instead of Ozil considering the positions they play.

    • Shimano says:

      Crazy game. While teams give Barcelona too much respect nobody is scared of Madrid.
      Even teams from the bottom of the table will go toe to toe with them which makes for some awesome games.
      Lucky for Madrid they have some great individual players that can bail them out most of the times.

  4. jones says:

    A 5-3-2? So they’ve just given up on trying to produce anything in the attack.

    • SNR says:

      What?! They scored 4 goals!
      I watched the second half and they never played with 5 in the back then.
      Their defense does look like crap.

      • jones says:

        yes, 4 goals in this game. But more generally, this past year their attack has been non-existent. But who knows, if they actually are playing 5-3-2 and it’s working out, stick with it.

  5. Shimano says:

    Bale settling nicely at Madrid. His first dive of many to come.
    link to youtube.com

  6. Josef says:

    LOL. That second Bale goal. It was headed way out of bounds but it went off someone’s head in the wall into the goal. Bale took credit for it and probably made a heart with his hands because he thinks he’s an anime character.

  7. a says:

    hello Brad Guzan, it’s Man City calling.

    wanna play in the Champions League?

    • David JS says:

      As a City fan (and obviously a USMNT fan) that would be the greatest thing ever. Seriously. Hart has been awful for a long, long time. Pantillimon would’ve been the #1 since like Boxing Day if Hart weren’t the English #1. Joe is plenty talented but I can see why English players and the England national team are crap after watching the way Hart has been handled. It’s like once you put on the England shirt, it makes you prone to criticism but immune from being sat on the bench. City should look to the bounce back Szceszny has had at Arsenal after being sat last season as a model. Meanwhile, Brad could really help City go for silverware this season, maybe even the title.

  8. a says:

    Mexico barely beat a 2nd string Finland side

    they are not going to the world cup. come on you Kiwi hippies

    btw IVES changed the posting format to the usual. thanks dude

    • Francois says:

      I don’t even think you could call that team a B team for Finland. That was like the U-23 team plus uncapped people. Mexico should be worried, New Zealand would have beat them last night with the way they played.

  9. Coke says:

    Since it’s not a FIFA date you can’t expect either country to bring their A team
    Clubs are not requires to release their player for friendlies.

    • Jacknut says:

      Exactly. If this lineup is even close to what El Tri rolls out in a few weeks, I’ll be shocked.

  10. Nick says:

    Why do the Mexicans play in the US; besides $. Is it safety or travel accomodations? Just wondering.

  11. Joamiq says:

    Bale was on a hat trick and Ronaldo wouldn’t let him take the pen. Bale must be loving the camaraderie down there. I’m sure it’s all he ever dreamed of.