Real Madrid completed an 8-2
aggregate thrashing of APOEL Nicosia on Wednesday that is
unlikely to have taught Bayern Munich very much that they did
not already know about their Champions League semi-final
Jose Mourinho's men maintained their 100 percent home record
in the tournament this year with a 5-2 second leg win at the
Bernabeu against the valiant but limited tournament debutants.
Leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a brace, including a
swerving and dipping free-kick, to take his season tally to 49
Kaka curled in a sumptuous long-range effort, the busy Jose
Callejon came off the bench to notch Madrid's fourth and Angel di Maria continued to work his way back to full fitness after
injury as he came on at the end to lob a fifth.
The La Liga leaders have scored 100 goals in their 30 league
matches and in Europe have racked up 32 in 10 so far.
"The team are in good shape and we are well prepared for a
difficult April," coach Jose Mourinho said.
Having won 3-0 in Cyprus last week, and with a tough league
clash at home to third-placed Valencia on Sunday, Mourinho was
able to rotate some of his players, though as ever, Ronaldo
started and finished.
Conceding two goals at home to the unheralded Cypriots, a
breakaway from Gustavo Manduca that made it 2-1 after 67 minutes
and a penalty given away by Hamit Altintop near the end, was of
no particular concern to Mourinho.
"I am not going to criticise anyone for the odd loss of
concentration, because over the last two years this group of
players have given their all," he said.
Mourinho, who is bidding to guide the world's richest club
to a 10th European Cup triumph, and a fourth for himself with a
fourth different team, predicted a classic encounter with
"They are a great rival, very powerful at an institutional
level and in football terms," he said,
"They are basically the same team I played two years ago
with Inter Milan [when he beat them in the Champions League
APOEL bow out with the heads held high after grabbing two
surprise goals which were loudly hailed by their colourful and
raucous group of travelling fans.
"The final result was fair. They were better than us but we
leave satisfied," APOEL coach Ivan Jovanovic said.
"The important thing is the result was not terrible and we
managed to score as well. There were lots of goals and the fans
will have enjoyed it."
"It's been a great year for us. We were the only team left
who started out on the 12th of July. It was our 16th match and
we don't have a big squad. We worked hard to get here and we
deserved it. The Bernabeu was a fitting place to end our run."
Mourinho gave them a glowing tribute. "Theirs is the biggest
achievement in the Champions League this year. If Barcelona,
Bayern or us go on to win, it won't be as big and achievement as
theirs has been."
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