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Real Madrid CF set up a mouth-watering UEFA Champions League semi-final against their great rivals FC Barcelona after Cristiano Ronaldo's second-half goal completed a comprehensive aggregate defeat of Tottenham Hotspur FC.
Ronaldo's speculative 50th-minute effort, fumbled into his own net by Heurelho Gomes, ended any faint hopes of a Tottenham comeback and confirmed Madrid's progression to a record 22nd semi-final in the competition – albeit their first since 2003 – with the only blemish on their impressive evening's work the yellow card for Ricardo Carvalho that rules him out of the first leg against Barcelona.
Tottenham may have tried to deliver on their manager Harry Redknapp's words that "nothing is impossible" but for the competition debutants this was a bridge too far against José Mourinho's side, whose defensive discipline was underlined by an eighth clean sheet in ten matches.
Only three times in UEFA club competition had a team overturned a four-goal deficit and, despite the noisy exhortations of the home crowd, Tottenham never looked like producing a victory to eclipse their successes against the two Milan clubs earlier in the tournament.
That Madrid began with four players at risk of suspension suggested Mourinho was not taking Tottenham lightly. Also notable was the deployment of Marcelo in a left-sided attacking role with Álvaro Arbeloa behind him, although it was on the other flank that Tottenham's early threat came as Gareth Bale troubled Sergio Ramos with several dangerous forays.
The hosts were struggling to retain the ball for long enough to build up a head of steam, however, and the early goal Redknapp had called for could well have arrived at the other end. With two minutes gone, a quick one-two with Emmanuel Adebayor sent Mesut Özil clear on the right but the German sent a tame left-foot effort straight at Gomes.
It took until the 27th minute for Tottenham to find a hole in the Madrid defence, Aaron Lennon accelerating past Arbeloa on to a Rafael van der Vaart pass and laying the ball across to Roman Pavlyuchenko who drove wastefully over from just inside the box. Pavlyucheko was then involved in the build-up to Bale volleying into the net but the effort was annulled because Luka Modrić, whose header set up the Welshman, was offside.
Madrid's fans cheered old favourite Raúl González's strike for FC Schalke 04 when it was played on the big screen at half-time and they were soon celebrating a goal of their own. Gomes had allowed Ronaldo a soft goal in the first leg and now he spilled the Portuguese's 25-metre strike, the ball bouncing out of his hands and spinning over the line despite a desperate attempt to claw it back.
Tottenham heads did not drop and they came close to bowing out with a consolation. Pavlyuchenko nodded Van der Vaart's cross on to the roof of the net; substitute Jermain Defoe drew a fingertip save from Iker Casillas and later headed a corner against the far post. The goal did not come but Redknapp's men were worthy of the warm applause that came their way at the final whistle.
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