LONDON - Jose Mourinho stayed on course
to become the first coach to win the Champions League with three
different clubs when Real Madrid beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 on
Wednesday to seal a 5-0 aggregate rout in the quarter-finals.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored one of the softest goals of his
career as Mourinho's team set up a titanic semi-final
confrontation with arch-rivals Barcelona on April 27 and May 3.
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Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes allowed a long-range Ronaldo
shot to bounce out of his hands in the 50th minute and failed to
retrieve the ball as it bounced agonisingly over the line at
White Hart Lane.
Real will now meet Barcelona four times in an epic 17-day
spell, starting with Saturday's top of the table La Liga clash
and next week's King's Cup final.
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"The semi-final is a semi-final, anything can happen," said
Mourinho who lifted the Champions League trophy with Inter Milan
last season and with Porto in 2004.
"We have two matches against Barcelona before the semis and
there is no time to think. If Spurs had scored in the first half... it could have been difficult but when Cristiano scored it
was all over," the Portuguese told ITV Sport.
Real, 4-0 up from last week's first leg, were never in
danger of suffering what would have been the biggest reversal
since European club competition began in 1955 as they recorded
their first away win in the knockout stages for nine years.
The closest Champions League debutants Spurs came to scoring
was when Gareth Bale had a first-half goal ruled out because
Luka Modric was offside.
Spurs, at the start, set about their virtually impossible
task with Bale and Aaron Lennon outpacing Alvaro Arbeloa and
Sergio Ramos at will on the flanks before whipping in balls that
put Real under pressure.
One run by Bale, when he blazed past Ramos, brought an
astonished look to the face of Mourinho, but it was Lennon who
created a good chance after 27 minutes.
Lennon left Arbeloa in his wake again only for Roman
Pavlyuchenko to blast the ball into the upper tier of the
Spurs also had three penalty appeals turned down as they
continued to go forward, Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli waving
away claims after Bale, Modric and Pavlyuchenko all went down
Real, naturally enough, were content to sit back and only
gave the home defence one moment of real concern in the first
half when Ramos forced Gomes to make a fine save from a header
and Emmanuel Adebayor lashed the follow-up wide.
The second half lacked the intensity of the first after
Ronaldo's goal as Real cruised into the last four, maintaining
their challenge for a 10th European Cup title ahead of the final
at Wembley Stadium on May 28.
Spurs manager Harry Redknapp was in philosophical mood after
his team's defeat.
"The goal was disappointing but the goalkeeper has been
great for us and he has made saves in the past that he had no
right to make," said Redknapp.
"He made a rare mistake but that's how it goes."
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