MALMO, September 29- Cristiano Ronaldo equalled Raul’s Real Madrid scoring record as the Portugal star steered the Spanish giants to a 2-0 victory at 10-man Malmo in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday.
Ronaldo ended an uncharacteristic three-game drought with the 500th goal of his career just before the half-hour in Sweden before adding a second late on to guide Real to a second straight win in Group A.
The brace for Ronaldo took his goals total since joining Real from Manchester United six years ago to 323, matching the mark set by former Spain striker and Real legend Raul Gonzalez Blanco.
The victory left Madrid with a maximum six points from two games and ahead of Paris Saint-Germain, 3-0 winners over Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, on goal difference.
With Sunday’s Madrid derby against Atletico on the horizon, Rafa Benitez opted against rushing back James Rodriguez or Gareth Bale while Los Blancos were also without injured defensive pair Sergio Ramos and Pepe.
Malmo, European Cup runners-up in 1979, made a reasonable start with skipper Markus Rosenberg and Anton Tinnerholm testing Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas from distance.
But Madrid gradually asserted their dominance as the first half wore on with Ronaldo, scorer of a hat-trick in an opening 4-0 win over Shakhtar, drawing a pair of saves from home ‘keeper Johan Wiland in quick succession.
Malmo failed to heed those warning signs and paid the price on 29 minutes when Isco slipped a ball through to an unmarked Ronaldo who calmly fired past Wiland to extend his Champions League goals record to 81.
Dani Carvajal was desperately unlucky not to add to the lead a few minutes before half-time as the right-back’s half-volley with the outside of his foot bounced back off the crossbar with Wiland well beaten.
Mateo Kovacic fired just wide with the second half only five minutes old but Madrid were given a scare when Rosenberg sent a header skipping just wide of the target.
Malmo’s hopes of salvaging something were dealt a big blow when Peruvian left-back Yoshimar Yotun was dismissed for a second booking on 78 minutes.
Only the heroics of Wiland prevented Ronaldo from adding to his haul shortly after as the Swede flung himself to his left to tip over a goalbound strike with another stunning one-handed save denying the Portuguese again a few minutes later.
But Ronaldo eventually wrapped up the victory in the final minute of normal time, stabbing home a Lucas Vazquez cross from close range to write his name into Real’s record books.