APOEL Nicosia Vs. Real Madrid, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Real Leave Things Late, But Win Big Anyway

Nobody really expected APOEL Nicosia to get anything off Real Madrid, did they?

The Cypriot fairy tale came to a screeching halt in the second half of their first-ever UEFA Champions League quarterfinal as the favourites snuck three goals past Dionisis Chiotis in final 20 minutes of the game, giving Madrid an almost insurmountable 3-0 lead.

The tie is over. APOEL had 23 percent of the possession and zero shots in a home game, and now they have to score three at the Santiago Bernabéu in order to just take this to extra time? That's simply not happening. Their plan was to frustrate Madrid and end the first leg scoreless, and at first that seemed to be going pretty well. The visitors were obviously the better side, but the defence (aided by an amusing Karim Benzema miss) held firm and kept their expensively assembled opponents off the board. However, APOEL never looked much like threatening Iker Casillas' goal and it was only ever going to be a matter of time before Madrid found a way through.

It was Benzema who scored first, making up for his earlier miss by glancing home a delightful cross from Kaká in the 74th minute, and after that the floodgates were open. Kaká made it two after excellent work by Marcelo as Real piled on the pressure, and Benzema capped off the night with a last-minute goal to make it 3-0. Madrid, barring a miracle of ridiculous proportions, are in the semifinals.

For more on Los BLancos, check out SB Nation's Real Madrid blog, Managing Madrid.

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