Cristiano Ronaldo broke the record for Champions League goals in a calendar year as Real Madrid trounced APOEL 6-0 in Nicosia.
The 32-year-old scored his 17th and 18th goals in the competition in 2017, surpassing his previous best tally of 15 two years ago, as the holders made light work of the trip to Cyprus to book their place in the last 16.
Luka Modric broke the deadlock with a thumping volley before Karim Benzema ended his month-long wait for a goal with his first in this season’s group stage.
Nacho Fernandez and Benzema netted again in a devastating six-minute spell at the end of the first half before Ronaldo’s emphatic header put Zinedine Zidane’s side in cruise control.
The forward added extra gloss to proceedings when he capitalised on more good work from Benzema, taking his tally in the competition to 98 for Madrid in the process.
The result sends Madrid through, but they must content themselves with second place, with Tottenham’s 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund securing top spot in Group H with one match to play. APOEL go bottom of the group.
Ronaldo tested Nauzet Perez in only the second minute with a half-volley from 12 yards out, and the goalkeeper needed medical treatment after colliding with a teammate following his initial save.
Two more sighters from Ronaldo had Nauzet scrambling without needing to make a save, but Madrid’s pressure told at 23 minutes – although APOEL rather gifted them the goal.
Vinicius tried to clear a Dani Carvajal cross with a back-heel and only managed to send the ball looping up towards Modric 20 yards out. The Croatian smashed a volley off the turf and into the bottom-right corner, with Nauzet unable to keep it out, despite getting two hands to the ball.
Madrid were cruising and they made it 2-0 before half-time, with Benzema taking a touch before curling past Nauzet from just inside the area after Toni Kroos teed him up at the end of a fine move.
Scarcely a minute later, the holders had their third. Marco Asensio’s corner was headed on by Raphael Varane, and Nacho was on hand to flick it into the net after drifting clear of his marker six yards out.
Ronaldo had been thwarted in his efforts to score, but he was happy to turn provider for Madrid’s fourth in first-half injury time, cutting into the penalty area and prodding the ball to Benzema, who was left with a simple finish.
The Portugal star at last got his own name on the scoresheet – and set another record – four minutes after the restart, though, producing a towering leap to meet Marcelo’s cross and head high past Nauzet into the left-hand corner.
Another three minutes, and Madrid had their sixth. Benzema closed down Nauzet and managed to block the ball towards Ronaldo, who fired a brilliant left-foot shot on the turn into the unguarded net.
Asensio was denied a seventh by the legs of Nauzet, but the damage was well and truly done, with Madrid now safely into the knockout phase, and APOEL needing a result against Tottenham to give themselves a chance of snatching a Europa League spot in their last group game.
In other Champions League results:
Raheem Sterling struck a late winner as Manchester City clinched top spot in Champions League Group F after a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord at the Etihad Stadium.
Liverpool missed out on the chance to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League as they let slip a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Sevilla.
Napoli breathed life into their Champions League campaign as a trio of second-half goals sealed a 3-0 home win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 and make certain of their status as Champions League Group H winners.
Timo Werner struck twice as Monaco self-destructed in the Champions League on Tuesday, going down 4-1 at home to RB Leipzig to be dumped out of Europe early.
A late goal from Jasmin Mesanovic cancelled out Ze Luis’ 82nd-minute effort to secure Maribor a 1-1 draw at Spartak Moscow, leaving the Russians with all to do in their final Champions League Group E match against Liverpool at Anfield.
Besiktas qualified for the knockout rounds of the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history, thanks to an entertaining 1-1 draw at home to Porto on Tuesday.
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