A 6-0 Thrashing In Cyprus Went In Vain As Madrid Failed To Finish The Top Of Group H
Today’s clash was set for an entertaining encounter as the european champions were aiming to bounce back following their surprise defeat to Tottenham last time out and a victory for Zinedine Zidane’s side was to. guarantee them a place in the round of 16.
Although, regardless of the result tonight, Madrid – who had failed to get close to their best form so far this term – would have qualified if Borussia Dortmund failed to beat Tottenham, who lead the way in Group H with 10 points. Los Blancos were seated second, with two wins and a draw to their name.
It looked like a compact 4-4-2 for the hosts, with Giorgos Donis who was likely to employ two flat banks of four with Efstathios Aloneftis and strike partner Michael Pote tasked with leading APOEL on the counter.
Whil three changes were made in total from Zidane compared to the side that were defeated at Wembley in their last Champions League album. Isco and Casemiro both dropped to the bench, with Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez taking the wide berths as Madrid were seemingly set to play more of a 4-2-4 or a 4-3-3, with Asensio going into midfield which he did a couple of times this evening. The other alteration saw the fit-again Dani Carvajal take Achraf Hakami’s place at right-back.
It was hard to say that it was coming but the european champions were in front at the 23rd minute . A poor clearance fell to Modric on the edge of the box and the Croatian did not hesitate in striking it on the volley. The ball dropped just before Perez who made a lame attempt at saving it, and it nestled in the bottom-right corner.
Real madrid doubled their lead in courtesy of karim benzema’s first Champions League goal of the season who on the 39th minute after latching onto Kroos’ througball picked his spot and side-footed a brilliant finish into the right-hand corner.
Well, everyone but Ronaldo seemed to be able to score for Madrid as from the resulting corner, Nacho beat Perez to a header from his defensive partner Varane,and duly prodded in at the 41st minute to shred clear daylight between their opponents.
Ronaldo had looked determined to get himself on the scoresheet and the forward looked all set to do just that when he rounded APOEL’s defence and had just Perez to beat but to everyone’s surprise apart from Benzema’s, Ronaldo instead teed up his strike partner, who was on hand to prod home madrid’s 4th at the 45th minute comfortably entering into the half-time interval.
Ronaldo finally got on to the scoresheet at the 49th minute with hia seventh champions League goal of the season. Patient build up play resulted in Marcelo drifting in a superb cross and ronaldo hung high in the air to head home brilliantly.
Ronaldo seemed to look in a magical touch again with his second in the 54th minute aa benzema closed down Perez and managed to deflect the ball into the path of ronaldo who despite facing away from goal managed to spin the ball into a gaping net with a first-time strike on the turn and forget the lacka in la liga.
It was all over in Cyprus, where Madrid had run riot to secure their progression from Champions League Group H in some style.
As it is, though, Zidane’s side had to settle for second place in the group, with Tottenham’s victory over Borussia Dortmund having guaranteed the English team top spot.