By Andy Hall at Santiago Bernabéu
Two first-half strikes from Ronaldo and a late Francisco Pavón header enabled Real Madrid CF to saunter to a 3-1 victory against Wisla Kraków, wrapping up a 5-1 aggregate win and clinching a place in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Having won 2-0 in Poland a fortnight ago, the nine-times winners were hot favourites to progress and were rarely troubled as they booked their place in Thursday's draw in Monaco with a resounding aggregate victory.
Madrid coach José Antonio Camacho was unable to field ineligible summer signings Michael Owen and Jonathan Woodgate while injury sidelined midfield player Borja Fernández. However, the home side looked comfortable from the off and took just three minutes to extend their grip on the tie as Luís Figo broke free down the right and sent over a low centre which left Ronaldo, unmarked at the far post, with the simple task of poking in.
Wisla hit back
With their hopes of progression all but extinguished, Wisla were kept tightly shackled but still managed to threaten Iker Casillas in the Madrid goal. Mauro Cantoro posed the greatest threat, chesting down before volleying over a Marek Zienczuk centre on the quarter-hour and then firing a low free-kick that was comfortably parried by the Madrid goalkeeper. Wisla captain Maciej Zurawski then drilled in a low free-kick that Casillas turned around the post.
Two for Ronaldo
Despite those chances, Madrid doubled their tally on 31 minutes when Míchel Salgado's cross picked out Ronaldo and once again the Brazilian striker made no mistake. Wisla goakeeper Radoslaw Madjdan kept the scoreline down with three excellent saves, keeping out two goalbound Figo efforts and then denying Ronaldo his hat-trick after the striker had nimbly skipped through the visitors' defence.
The home side were in complete command and left their opponents with little option but to soak up the constant onslaughts with Madjdan in outstanding form. The Wisla custodian was called into action again on the hour, pulling out a reflex save when Ronaldo connected with Figo's centre, then using his feet to block a low shot from the Portuguese winger.
A trademark drive from Roberto Carlos was deflected wide and substitute José María Guti glanced wide as the home side, with the tie safely wrapped up, turned on the style. With five minutes remaining, Pavón arrived at the near post to head in from a corner but Wisla subsequently scored the goal their endeavour had deserved, Damien Gorawski steering a consolation strike inside the near post on the stroke of full time.
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