Madrid into quarterfinals after 4-1 win over CSKA

By Paul Logothetis

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, March 14 2012 4:57 p.m. MDT

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema from France, second right, scores during a Champions League round of 16, second leg soccer match against CSKA Moscow's at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, in Madrid, Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

Daniel Ochoa de Olza, Associated Press

MADRID — Jose Mourinho guided Real Madrid into the Champions League quarterfinals for the second straight season after Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in a 4-1 victory over CSKA Moscow on Wednesday.

Following a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Madrid took a 26th-minute lead when Sami Khedira's brilliant no-look cross to Kaka led to Gonzalo Higuain's opening goal.

CSKA goalkeeper Sergei Chepchugov gifted Madrid the second goal when he fumbled Ronaldo's long-range shot in the 55th.

Karim Benzema poked home the rebound from his own shot in the 70th, only for Zoran Tosic to score from long range seven minutes later.

Ronaldo ensured a 5-2 aggregate victory on the last move of the game at Santiago Bernabeu stadium, giving the Portugal forward his 42nd goal of the season and his sixth in the competition.

"We played a mature match. It wasn't anything out of this world," Mourinho said. "We're in the quarterfinals which is the most important thing."

Madrid, the record nine-time champion, had failed to progress past the last 16 in the six previous seasons before Mourinho's arrival. Last year, the Champions League winner with FC Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010 took Madrid to the semifinals.

Madrid's victory came at a cost with midfielder Xabi Alonso out of the next match after being booked just before Ronaldo's first goal.

CSKA could have caused Madrid more trouble if it had converted what proved to be its clearest opportunity. The hosts' defense slackened in the eighth minute to allow Alan Dzagoev to find Seydou Doumbia, but he shot well over with only goalkeeper Iker Casillas to beat.

Mesut Oezil and Kaka orchestrated most of the best scoring opportunities but, apart from an attempt from Ronaldo, Madrid's superiority was initially confined to dominating possession with few shots on goal.

Doumbia threatened again in the 13th, but Madrid began to take command with Oezil having an penalty appeal denied moments later and Kaka firing wide after latching onto a loose ball in the 18th.

Oezil found Khedira at the far edge of the area, the Germany international retreated before sending a no-look cross back into the area for Kaka to slip a pass and allow Higuain to score his third goal of the tournament. A frustrated Mourinho pleaded with his players to pick up their form, and they soon responded.

Vasili Berezutski was lucky to escape with only a yellow card in the 32nd after taking Ronaldo down despite appearing to be the last defender. Ronaldo persisted, and Chepchugov did well to cut off the angle and deny him from close range in the 49th.

But the goalkeeper let Ronaldo's long-range shot slip off his gloves, putting the Russians in a big hole.

"You have to play a near perfect game against them, they punished you for any errors," CSKA coach Leonid Slutski said through a translator. "If only we would have made less errors than we might have had a chance to surprise."

Doumbia missed another great opportunity before Benzema made an immediate impact after replacing Higuain, beating the offside trap to reach Oezil's pass inside the area and toe-poking his fifth goal of the competition.

Mourinho didn't look impressed when Alan Dzagoev sent Tosic into space outside the area, the Serbian midfielder finding Pepe out of position to beat Casillas with a rising shot that came off the underside of the crossbar.

Madrid weathered the pressure from CSKA before an unmarked Benzema centered for Ronaldo to tap the ball into an empty net.

"The most important thing isn't always to score but to play as a team and to be a collective," said Mourinho, who looked frustrated at times as he pleaded with his players to pick up their form.

Madrid is joined by defending champion Barcelona, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Marseille, Benfica, Chelsea and APOEL in the last eight. The quarterfinal draw will take place on Friday.

Paul Logothetis can be reached at: www.twitter.com/PaulLogoAP

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