Thu, Feb 13, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Ronaldo scores twice as Real cruise to Copa final

LIGHTING IT UP:The Portuguese forward struck twice, but was himself struck when Atletico fans threw a lighter at him in apparent frustration at the 5-0 aggregate rout

AFP, MADRID

Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo, second right, tries to score over Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia, left, in their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg on Tuesday at the Estadio Vicente Calderon in Madrid.

Photo: AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice from the penalty spot and was also hit on the head by a lighter thrown from the crowd as Real Madrid sealed their place in the Copa del Rey final with a 2-0 win over holders Atletico Madrid that saw tehim triumph 5-0 on aggregate.

Any chance of Atletico recovering from their 3-0 defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu last week was extinguished after just seven minutes, when Ronaldo opened the scoring after being felled by Manquillo.

The Portuguese star doubled his tally nine minutes later from another penalty granted after Gareth Bale was taken down by Emiliano Insua.

Ronaldo’s eventful evening continued as, moments after being booked for a clash with Manquillo, he was hit by a lighter thrown by Atletico fans as the players headed to the dressing rooms at halftime.

To the probable dismay of the visiting supporters, the Ballon d’Or winner was fit to continue at the start of the second half before being substituted late on.

Real will face either Barcelona or Real Sociedad in the Copa final on April 19, with Barca holding a 2-0 advantage heading into the second leg of their semi-final yesterday.

Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said that Ronaldo was fine after the lighter incident and lauded his side’s reaching the final on the back of eight consecutive clean sheets in the Copa this season.

“Cristiano is fine, he scored two goals and he doesn’t have any problems,” Ancelotti said. “We are still alive in all competitions and whilst this is the least important of the three in comparison to La Liga or the Champions League, to get to a final is always a good thing for the team.”

Atletico boss Diego Simeone seemed to have given up any hope of an unlikely comeback from the off on Tuesday as he rested Juanfran, Diego Godin, Arda Turan and captain Gabi, whilse four more first-team regulars missed out on the action through injury and suspension.

However, despite suffering three defeats in a week, Simeone is hoping for a positive reaction from his side as they too have La Liga and Champions League honors to fight for in the coming weeks.

“You are never happy to lose or go out of a competition, much less in this manner losing 5-0. Last year, we managed to win this competition, this year we got to the semi-finals. You can always do better as a team, but now we will continue with the same desire as before and we want to remain competitive,” he said.

Ancelotti named a strong side and was rewarded with the away-goal that killed the tie off when Ronaldo converted from the spot after tumbling under Manquillo’s clumsy challenge inside the area.

Atletico briefly threatened a revival when Raul Garcia struck the post moments later.

However, it was 2-0 after just 16 minutes as Bale went and Ronaldo again struck the resulting spot-kick into Daniel Aranzubia’s net.

With the tie effectively over as a contest, the only spice was added as Ronaldo was struck as he headed toward the tunnel at half-time.

The best that Atletico could muster as they slipped to their first home defeat of the season was a drive from Jose Sosa that forced Iker Casillas into a flying save.

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