REPORT | 21/11/2017 | Alberto Navarro | PHOTOGRAPHER: Antonio Villalba/Helios de la RubiaGoals from Cristiano Ronaldo (2), Benzema (2), Modric and Nacho handed the Whites victory in Nicosia as they advance to the next stage of the Champions League.
- Champions League
- Matchday 5
There were 23 minutes on the clock when Madrid got their noses in front. Luka Modric broke the deadlock when he fired home a volleyed effort from the edge of the area, with the bounce catching Nauzet by surprise in the home side's goal. From that point on, the Whites blew APOEL away and doubled their advantage on 39', when a fine one-touch team move saw Benzema link up with Toni Kroos, who exchanged passes with Cristiano Ronaldo, the latter then slipped the ball through to the French hitman, who made no mistake with just Nauzet to beat.
Far from taking their foot off the gas, the defending champions injected even greater tempo to their play and two minutes later added to their lead. Raphaël Varane got his head to a Marco Asensio corner and Nacho poked out a right boot to steer the ball home.
APOEL were helpless against their rivals, but the scoreline did not stay the same as the half-time interval loomed. In stoppage time, the Whites’ launched a textbook counter-attack. Kroos sent the ball in as Benzema lost his man, he then passed to Cristiano Ronaldo, who controlled it with his heel before putting it on a plate for the Frenchman to score. Benzema claimed his second of the night, making him the highest scoring French player in European Cup history.
If they first half ended with a Benzema double,, the second half began with another brace, this time it was the work of the top goalscorer in the history of the competition. In just five minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a header on 49 minutes after Marcelo neatly set him up with a cross, before Benzema returned his earlier favour. The French striker beat the home defence and picked up on a Nauzet clearance, battling to the last to set up the Portuguese talisman, who buried his shot.
Third clean sheet in a row
There were nearly more goals, as Borja Mayoral and Dani Ceballos tried their luck but to no avail. This result came with more great news: it was now the third game in a row that Real Madrid had kept a clean sheet. The team find out their next opponents for the knockout stage on 11 December.