A tame first half sprung into life when Sergio Ramos was shown a straight red for dragging down Umut Bulut as he raced through on the Real Madrid goal. Replays showed there was little contact between the two men, but referee Willie Collum dismissed the defender, the 17th time he has seen red in his career.
However, Bale gave the hosts the lead with a wonderful free-kick, dipping and swerving his shot past Eray Iscan from 25 yards.
Galatasaray struck back immediately through Bulut, who latched on to Didier Drogba’s exquisite through ball and finished calmly past Iker Casillas.
Arbeloa put his side in front after 51 minutes, finishing a Di Maria cross at the back post before the Argentine winger himself made it 3-1 with a low drive from inside the box.
And Isco put the finishing touch on the rout, dancing through several challenges in the Galatasaray box before making a fool of Iscan with a slotted finish.
PRE-MATCH – NO RONALDO: As expected the Portuguese forward is omitted from the Real Madrid squad having picked up an injury in the 5-0 win over Almeria at the weekend.
5’ – BALE SHOULD SCORE: Isco plays the Welshmen through on goal but Bale puts his effort past the post when he had time and space to pick his spot.
26’ – RED CARD: Sergio Ramos is shown a straight red card for dragging down Umut Bulut as he raced through on goal. Replays showed there was little contact between the two players.
37’ - GOAL (Madrid 1-0 Galatasaray): Bale scores a wonderful free-kick from 25 yards to give Real Madrid the lead. His strike dips and swerves and deceives Eray Iscan in the Galatasaray goal.
38’ - GOAL (Madrid 1-1 Galatasaray): Galatasaray hit back immediately, with Umut Bulut latching on to Didier Drogba’s superb through ball to slot past Iker Casillas.
51’ - GOAL (Madrid 2-1 Galatasaray): Alvaro Arbeloa puts Real Madrid back in the lead, finishing at the back post from Angel Di Maria’s dangerous delivery into the box from the left wing.
63’ - GOAL (Madrid 3-1 Galatasaray): Angel Di Maria makes it 3-1 just after the hour mark, taking a good touch inside the box before firing low into the net.
80’ - GOAL (Madrid 4-1 Galatasaray): Isco nets the goal his performance deserves, making a mockery of the Galatasaray defence, dancing through several tackles before passing past the flailing Iscan.
Real Madrid have now scored in 30 consecutive Champions League games, setting a new record. They had been tied with Barcelona on 29 games until tonight.
Real Madrid have now gone 15 games unbeaten at home in the Champions League.
Can Real Madrid cope without Cristiano Ronaldo? On the night Real Madrid’s fans staged a demonstration to back Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or the team on the pitch showed they can still cope without the Portuguese superstar. Di Maria, Isco and Bale stepped into the void and took charge of the game, particularly in the second half.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid)- The Spanish full-back doesn’t often grab the headlines but he was a threat down the left and right side on the break, scoring a well-taken goal and chipping in with his share of the defending too.
Real Madrid – Casillas 6, Arbeloa 9, Ramos 4, Pepe 6, Marcelo 6, Casemiro 5, Illarramendi 6, Bale 7, Isco 8, Di Maria 8, Rodriguez 6. Subs: Alonso 5, Nacho 5, Carvajal 5.
Galatasaray – Iscan 5, Eboue 5, Zan 4, Chedjou 5, Nounkeu 5, Melo 6, Selcuk 5, Bulut 7, Amrabat 5, Drogba 5. Subs: Riera 6, Sneijder 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET