APOEL Nicosia vs Real Madrid: 5 Key Talking Points
Scoreline: APOEL Nicosia 0-6 Real Madrid
Goals: Modric 23' Benzema 39' Nacho 41' Benzema 45+1' Ronaldo 49' 54'
Real Madrid had a point to prove and a knockout stage spot to claim and they engineered their way through with regal swagger. Scoring as many as 5 goals in 15 minutes, they put APOEL Nicosia to bed while they were only halfway through their shift.
Cristiano Ronaldo woke up from a slumber and snatched a new record of having scored the most number of goals (18) in a calendar year with a well-deserved brace.
Earlier, Luka Modric had given Zizou's men the lead with a spectacular volley from 20 yards out. Karim Benzema got back on the scoresheet with a cool finish onto the side of the net before Nacho increased the lead to 3 with a simple flick-on.
Benzema added to his tally in the dying embers of the first half. Cristiano Ronaldo then scored twice-- first with his head and then with his left foot to secure all 3 points and a ticket to the knockout stages.
#5 The brace will do Karim Benzema a world of good
Much maligned at this point of the season, the French striker needed to deliver the goods and send his indecisiveness and ineptitude back into the woods. Benzema's work was cut out thanks to the quality that operates behind him.
But even then, the 29-year-old striker stayed calm and composed in front of goal when he was released through on goal by the brilliance of Toni Kroos. Benzema picked out the right corner of the netting with a sweet finish with the inside of his foot. His neat little interplay with Ronaldo for the second goal wasn't tainted with marks of a player who was going through a rough patch.
The Frenchman was tracking back to get involved in the build-up and was showing signs of reviving the form that made him one of the most bankable hitmen in Europe. It is reassuring to see him show such intent and poise as the early season purrings subside and the clock summons the champions to the table for it's business time now.