Real Madrid CF eased into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the second season running as Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice against a dogged PFC CSKA Moskva side in the round of 16.
Having left Moscow with a 1-1 draw from the first leg, José Mourinho's decision to start the in-form Gonzalo Higuaín ahead of fit-again Karim Benzema was rewarded when the Argentinian gave Madrid a first-half lead. Ronaldo made it two before Benzema came off the bench to immediately add a third. Zoran Tošić reduced the arrears for CSKA with a spectacular strike but Madrid had the last word as Ronaldo tapped in his second in the final seconds.
Mourinho had warned that CSKA – unbeaten in all six previous fixtures against Spanish opponents – were capable of causing a surprise and the visitors almost stunned the home crowd inside eight minutes. Seydou Doumbia blasted over having been released by Alan Dzagoev's through pass.
The Liga leaders responded through a Ronaldo effort from the right which goalkeeper Sergei Chepchugov dealt with but the hosts were under pressure again not long after and were fortunate that Ahmed Musa – cutting in from the right – failed to pick out the well positioned Doumbia.
Despite the early pressure, Madrid were confident of extending their scoring run to 35 successive games and duly did so in fine style on 26 minutes. Mesut Özil picked out Sami Khedira on the right and the 24-year-old took his time before lifting an accurate reverse pass back into to the unmarked Kaká whose centre was flicked in by Higuaín for his 15th goal in 12 outings.
CSKA won at Sevilla FC to eliminate the Spanish side at this stage of the competition two years ago and their belief never wavered despite conceding, Musa subsequently drawing a flying stop from Iker Casillas.
Madrid, however, gained the upper hand as the second period unfolded with Kaká prodding wide after the restart and Ronaldo firing against the legs of Chepchugov. The goalkeeper was caught out by another effort from the Portuguese forward in the 55th minute, spilling a bouncing long-range shot into his net to allow Madrid to double the lead.
It got even better for the nine-time European champions after Benzema replaced Higuaín in the 69th minute. Sixty seconds later, the replacement got his fifth goal of the season's competition at the second attempt after his original shot had been saved by Chepchugov.
With the tie all but over, Leonid Slutski's side produced the best goal of the evening 13 minutes from time. Finding space in the centre, Dzagoev released Tošić on the left and after evading the onrushing Pepe, the 24-year-old beat Casillas with a thunderous shot that went in off the crossbar to the delight of the 3,000 away supporters behind the goal.
It was Madrid's night, however, and they capped it off when Ronaldo tapped in Benzema's unselfish square pass deep into added time. It wrapped up an ultimately comfortable victory and confirmed their place in Friday's last-eight draw.