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Real Madrid CF will face FC Bayern München in the semi-finals later this month after APOEL FC's UEFA Champions League adventure finally came to an end in the Spanish capital.
José Mourinho had lauded the Cypriot outfit the "most important team" in this season's competition, yet the plaudits ended there as the Merengues followed up their 3-0 first-leg win with another comfortable victory. Cristiano Ronaldo, with two goals, Kaká, José Callejón and Ángel Di María all found the net, but APOEL were not cowed and gave their 4,000 visiting fans something to cheer through Gustavo Manduca and an Esteban Solari penalty.
Prior to their 450th game in UEFA competition, the hosts paid their respects to midfielder José María Zárraga, a winner of five European Champion Clubs' Cups with Madrid, who passed away on Tuesday. They started the game in the attacking spirit of their predecessors from the 1950s and 60s, with Gonzalo Higuaín heading wide from close range before Ronaldo drew a save from Urko Pardo.
Ivan Jovanović's charges had lost twice in seven away encounters in Europe this season and were keen to preserve that impressive record as they attempted to stifle their opponents with a compact formation. Their resistance lasted until the 26th minute when Ronaldo scored his 54th goal in 52 appearances for club and country this term, knocking in Marcelo's bouncing centre at the far post.
The visitors fell further behind 11 minutes later and it was again Marcelo who provided the assist, this time to compatriot Kaká, who arced an exquisite right-footed shot from outside the area around the despairing dive of Pardo. The former FC Barcelona B goalkeeper – preferred to Dionisios Chiotis − was scrambling again moments later as he struggled to reach another Kaká effort that scraped the base of the post before going wide.
The Liga leaders got the second half under way with another Kaká shot that zipped wide, and it was that effort that finally provided the spark for APOEL to mount their first serious attack. Constantinos Charalambides led the way with a testing shot which flew over Iker Casillas's crossbar before the visitors halved their arrears on the night with a smart move. Marcinho fed Aílton and he found Manduca, whose penetrating run ended with a calm finish past Casillas.
It was the prelude to a frantic conclusion, with Ronaldo increasing his side's lead with a free-kick from the left. Substitute Callejón registered his fifth goal in as many UEFA Champions League outings when he cut a low drive past Pardo for 4-1, but APOEL again responded via Solari's penalty after Hamit Altıntop tripped Aldo Adorno in the area.
Di María's deft chip, following a cute Kaká back heel, concluded the scoring. Madrid can now look forward to a trip to Bayern in the first leg of their semi-final on 17 April.
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