Real Madrid Vs. APOEL Nicosia, UEFA Champions League 2012 Match Recap: Madrid Gets an Easy, Quiet Win

PAMPLONA, SPAIN - MARCH 31: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF warms up before the La Liga match between CA Osasuna and Real Madrid CF at Estadio Reyno de Navarra on March 31, 2012 in Pamplona, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Real Madrid got a comfortable 5-2 win against APOEL Nicosia in a not very crowded Santiago Bernabéu. Kaka, Callejón, Di María and Cristiano Ronaldo (with two goals) were Real Madrid's scorers.

Mourinho chose to mix some key starting players with Altintop, Varane, Sahin and Granero. Cristiano Ronaldo, Ramos, Pepe, Kaka, Marcelo and Higuaín started the game as well and got into a rhythm which will serve them well in the upcoming games against Valencia and Atlético Madrid. The team took some time off and didn't play at their full capacity, but still managed to score some goals, especially at the end of the game.

APOEL played on the defensive during the first half, even though they needed to score three goals to go to extra time. Sahin and Granero weren't finding the space to put the ball through, so Real Madrid didn't have lots of chances until Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the 26th minute of the game. The Portuguese player pushed the ball inside the net off a cross by Marcelo.

Kaka' was almost invisible during the game, but 0 minutes after Cristiano Ronaldo's goal he scored one of his trademark AC Milan goals with a great finesse shot with his right leg. The Brazilian player improved his game too, and hit the post with a very similar shot minutes before halftime.

The second half started very quietly. But Manduca scored APOEL's first goal of the Quarterfinals in the 67th minute and woke up his teammates. Unluckily for them, Real Madrid also woke up with the help of José Mourinho, who placed Callejón, Di María and Raúl Albiol on the field for Higuaín, Marcelo and Granero.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored off a free kick after APOEL Nicosia's first goal. Urko Vera couldn't do anything to stop the shot, and the Bernabéu was happy to see their players scoring once again. Five minutes later, Callejón scored with a great run, dribble and shot. Callejón was in a scoring drought these last few months, but Real Madrid will surely be glad that the canterano is back in a scoring form. The team is going to need every available help this April.

Hamit Altintop was called for a penalty when he brought Solari down inside Real Madrid's box. It looked like Altintop had touched the ball first, but it could be argued that the referee was right when he called the penalty. Solari converted the penalty and put the 4-2 in the scoreboard.

But Di María still had something to say. The Argentinian player scored one of his most beautiful goals in a Real Madrid uniform with a chip shot over APOEL's goalkeeper. It seemed like the winger was going to shoot, but he decided to chip it instead. Now Di María looks ready to contribute and give everything he can for this end of the season. He might even start in Real Madrid's next game against Valencia this weekend.

This was the last calm game that Real Madrid will be able to enjoy during the season. The rest will be very much like finals, which start on Sunday at 21:30 CET.


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