Spurs’ big night started badly when Aaron Lennon had to be withdrawn from the starting XI after falling ill in the tunnel, and things got worse when former Arsenal forward Emmanuel Adebayor headed Madrid in front with just four minutes on the clock.
Already on a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Sergio Ramos, Tottenham forward Peter Crouch was then dismissed for another ill-advised challenge, this time on Marcelo, with just 14 minutes gone as the English side’s night went from bad to worse.
They gave themselves a glimmer of hope by reaching the interval only one goal down, but Madrid were in the mood to punish their visitors as they looked to bounce back from a surprise La Liga defeat this past weekend.
Adebayor finally doubled the Spanish giant’s advantage when he beat Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes with a header shortly before the hour mark, and with 18 minutes remaining Angel Di Maria added a stunning third when he cut inside and unleashed an unstoppable shot that flew into the top corner.
And ex-Manchester United star Ronaldo then ensured Madrid will head to White Hart Lane for the second leg with a four-goal advantage, volleying home his 38th goal in all competitions this season.