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APOEL 0 Real Madrid 6: Record-breaking Ronaldo and Benzema send holders through in style

21 November 2017 22:36

Cristiano Ronaldo broke the record for Champions League goals in a calendar year as Real Madrid trounced APOEL 6-0 in Nicosia.

The 32-year-old scored his 17th and 18th goals in the competition in 2017, surpassing his previous best tally of 15 two years ago, as the holders made light work of the trip to Cyprus to book their place in the last 16.

Luka Modric broke the deadlock with a thumping volley before Karim Benzema ended his month-long wait for a goal with his first in this season's group stage.

Nacho Fernandez and Benzema netted again in a devastating six-minute spell at the end of the first half before Ronaldo's emphatic header put Zinedine Zidane's side in cruise control.

The forward added extra gloss to proceedings when he capitalised on more good work from Benzema, taking his tally in the competition for Madrid to 98 in the process.

The result sends Madrid through but they must content themselves with second place, with Tottenham's 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund securing top spot in Group H with one match to play. APOEL go bottom of the group.

Ronaldo tested Nauzet Perez in only the second minute with a half-volley from 12 yards out, and the goalkeeper needed medical treatment after colliding with a team-mate following his initial save.

Two more sighters from Ronaldo had Nauzet scrambling without needing to make a save but Madrid's pressure told on 23 minutes - although APOEL rather gifted them the goal.

Vinicius tried to clear a Dani Carvajal cross with a backheel and managed only to send the ball looping up towards Modric 20 yards out. The Croatian smashed a volley off the turf and into the bottom-right corner, with Nauzet unable to keep it out despite getting two hands to the ball.

Madrid were cruising and they made it 2-0 before half-time, with Benzema taking a touch before curling past Nauzet from just inside the area after Toni Kroos teed him up at the end of a fine move.

Scarcely a minute later, the holders had their third. Marco Asensio's corner was headed on by Raphael Varane and Nacho was on hand to flick it into the net, after drifting clear of his marker six yards out.

Ronaldo had been thwarted in his efforts to score but he was happy to turn provider for Madrid's fourth in first-half injury time, cutting into the penalty area and prodding the ball to Benzema, who was left with a simple finish.

The Portugal star at last got his own name on the scoresheet – and set another record – four minutes after the restart, though, producing a towering leap to meet Marcelo's cross and head high past Nauzet into the left-hand corner.

Another three minutes, and Madrid had their sixth. Benzema closed down Nauzet and managed to block the ball towards Ronaldo, who fired a brilliant left-foot shot on the turn into the unguarded net.

Asensio was denied a seventh by the legs of Nauzet but the damage was well and truly done, with Madrid now safely into the knockout phase and APOEL needing a result against Tottenham to give themselves a chance of snatching a Europa League spot in their last group game.

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