Real through after goal glut
APOEL bow out with two goals in the Bernabeu
Last Updated: April 4, 2012 10:20pm
Real Madrid put on a show in the Bernabeu, beating APOEL 5-2 to complete an 8-2 aggregate win and set up a semi-final against Bayern Munich.
The tie was already as good as over after three late goals by Real in the first-leg and from the moment Cristiano Ronaldo scored midway through the first half it was just a question of how many.
It was to become a night littered with great goals for the home side. Kaka's curled effort in the first half was followed by a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick - his second goal of the evening - and a sensational chip from Angel Di Maria.
In between, the Cypriots capped a remarkable UEFA Champions League campaign by grabbing two goals of their own, through Gustavo Manduca and a debatable Esteban Solari penalty, to the delight of their travelling contingent.
While Jose Mourinho may bemoan the sloppiness that allowed APOEL to score twice after the break, he will be pleased to have come through the game suspension-free and with both Di Maria and Jose Callejon making goalscoring returns from injury.
The nine-time Champions League winners can now look forward to a semi-final with Bayern Munich later in April ahead of a possible showdown with arch-rivals Barcelona in the final.
Mourinho took the chance to rest some of his established stars as Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil and Karim Benzema started on the bench, but the Portuguese coach still named a strong side that had far too much for their Cypriot opponents from the off.
APOEL manager Ivan Jovanovic had claimed before the game that his side "never play with fear" but they certainly appeared nervous early on as two defensive errors nearly handed Madrid the opener within the first four minutes.
Firstly, Gonzalo Higuain could only head William Boaventura's misguided clearance wide before Savvas Poursaitides presented Ronaldo with a great chance but the Portuguese fired straight at Urko Pardo.
Ronaldo did eventually get his 48th goal of the season when he bundled the ball home after Higuain had failed to get a telling touch on Marcelo's cross.
Hamit Altintop fluffed his lines after being played in by Higuain and Kaka saw another effort fly just over - but the Brazilian had been the pick of those on show in the first 45 and he deservedly scored the second goal with a brilliant curling effort which bent just inside Pardo's left-hand post.
The former Milan playmaker nearly replicated that effort from Ronaldo's clever pass five minutes before the break but this time saw the ball clip the outside of the post.
To APOEL's credit they took advantage of the hosts' sloppiness at the beginning of the second half and gave their travelling hordes of fans a moment to treasure with 23 minutes remaining as a wonderful team move ended with Ailton slipping the ball through to Manduca, who slotted calmly past Iker Casillas to record his fourth Champions League goal of the season.
Constantinos Charalambides was denied a spectacular equaliser moments later as Casillas produced a fingertip save to divert his drive behind for a corner but Ronaldo soon put an end to any hopes of a heroic comeback as having gone all season without scoring from a free-kick he made it two in two games with a stunning effort from wide on the left.
Callejon then added a fourth as he cut in from the left to finish low beyond Pardo, but the Cypriots responded again and got their second goal when Solari netted from the spot after Aldo Adorno had been upended by Altintop.
However, Di Maria had the final say when he rounded off a fine night for the nine-time winners as he lofted a wonderful chip over Pardo.
|Real Madrid||Team Statistics||Apoel Nicosia|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|8||Shots on Target||3|
|11||Shots off Target||4|
|75.4||1st Half Poss.||24.6|
|66.5||2nd Half Poss.||33.5|
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