By Ria Novosti
Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice to help Real Madrid knock CSKA Moscow out of the Champions League on Wednesday with a 4-1 win.
Close-range goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema put the score beyond CSKA’s reach to register a 5-2 aggregate drubbing and cement Real’s quarterfinal berth.
CSKA had given themselves a glimmer of hope with Zoran Tosic’s 80th-minute drive pulling the score back to 3-1, but the army side left themselves with too much to do after a 1-1 draw in the home leg last month.
“CSKA played two great games against Real,” Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said. “I think for us to get past the last 16 against such a team is an excellent result.”
CSKA Moscow coach Leonid Slutsky lamented his side’s missed chances.
“We had our moments, we had our chances with [Seydou] Doumbia, but to play against such a team and put together a string of chances, every player needed to be on top form.”
The breakthrough came on 26 minutes, when Sami Khedira played a lob over the CSKA defense to Kaka at the far post, who crossed past advancing goalkeeper Sergei Chepchugov for Higuain to slot into the empty net.
Ronaldo extended Real’s lead on 55 minutes, picking up Sergio Ramos’ pass 30 yards out before advancing on the CSKA defense and firing a long-range shot at Chepchugov, who palmed the ball into the net as he tried to make a routine save.
Real took a three-goal lead on 70 minutes when substitute Kerim Benzema lashed a shot in from close range after Chepchugov spilled the French forward’s first shot from Ozil’s pass.
Tosic gave the Russian side hope 7 minutes later when he picked up Dzagoev’s pass on the break, beat Pepe and fired in a fierce 25-yard left-footed drive that beat Casillas and bounced in off the crossbar.
Ronaldo rounded off Real’s triumph with his second goal of the night deep into stoppage time, side-footing into an empty net from Benzema’s cross after Real burst past the CSKA defense.
Real dominated possession as expected, although the visitors occasionally threatened on the break.
Doumbia wasted CSKA’s best chances, blazing over after outpacing Alvaro Arbeloa to latch onto Alan Dzagoev’s through ball early on.
CSKA came close to cutting the deficit when Pavel Mamaev played a long through ball to Doumbia and the Ivorian rounded Casillas, only to miss the empty net with his lobbed effort near the 70th minute mark.
“Any striker can miss easy chances. … Although it’s difficult when you miss a couple to expect a third, a fourth, a fifth chance against such a team,” Slutsky said.
CSKA continued to attack late on, and came close when substitute Tomas Necid shot from 30 yards, forcing Casillas to parry, but the Real defense were able to clear the ball.
Ronaldo sealed the thrashing with one of the last kicks of the game.
Real will play the first leg of their quarterfinal on March 27 or 28, with their opponents to be decided by Friday’s draw.