Real Madrid look to have finally ended Apoel's dream Champions League run with a 3-0 win in Nicosia in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
For much of the encounter it appeared as if Apoel might have another heroic story to tell from there incredible Champions League season. But with 16 minutes to go Karim Benzema broke the deadlock and paved the way for a comfortable victory, with goals then added by Kaka and Benzema once more.
Mesut Ozil had the first real chance of the game after 11 minutes. Fabio Coentrao's lofted cross from the left failed to be effectively headed clear by the Apoel defense and the ball arrived to Ozil near the penalty spot, but the German's volley was well-parried by goalkeeper Dionisis Chiotis.
Chiotis had to be alert once more as the match approached the half-hour point. Ronaldo was played in down the left of the penalty area by Nuri Sahin and from a difficult angle, under pressure, he still managed to get a venomous shot on goal. But Chiotis was fortunate that it went almost straight at him, allowing the keeper to parry the ball before making the catch.
But the best chance of the opening period fell to Karim Benzema. Ronaldo skipped past several players on the edge of the area before laying a pass down the side to Sahin in an ideal crossing position. The Turkish midfielder's squared ball met Benzema perfectly running onto the ball at the far post, but somehow the French striker put the ball over the bar with the goal gaping.
Benzema would atone for his horrendous miss by finally opening the scoring for Madrid in the 74th minute. Substitute Kaka teased Apoel's Helder Sousa on the left of the area before curling in an in-swinging cross that was met right on the six-yard box by Benzema's diving header to send the ball into the back of the net.
And the provider turned goalscorer just eight minutes later to make it 2-0. Left-back Marcelo played a clever one-two with Ronaldo before bursting through down the left edge of the box. The Brazilian stretched to cut the ball back perfectly for Kaka, who was waiting in the center of the goal to slot home.
As if it weren't already, Real surely put the tie beyond doubt with Benzema's second goal of the night in the 90th minute. A quick breakaway led by Ronaldo, saw the ball with Ozil down the right. The German played a delightful ball across the face of goal with the outside of his left boot that found Benzema on the far post with the simple task of tapping home from close range.