Ronaldo, Madrid slip past Osasuna

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Ronaldo, Madrid slip past Osasuna

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his Ballon d’Or triumph by scoring from one of his trademark free kicks as Real Madrid beat Osasuna, 2-0, on Wednesday to reach the Copa del Rey quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Ronaldo smashed a swerving shot from 25 meters (27.3 yards) around the defensive wall and straight at goalie Andres Fernandez. The keeper tried to punch it out but ended up sending it down off the ground and between his legs into the net.

Ronaldo’s 22nd-minute strike effectively sealed the contest, with Osasuna having lost the first leg, 2-0.

Osasuna forced Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas into a number of saves to close the half after having rarely threatened before Ronaldo’s opener.

Angel Di Maria capped a quick counter in the 56th minute by sweeping home Jese’s cross after a long run from the halfway line, securing a 4-0 aggregate victory at El Sadar Stadium.

“The team looks better with every game,” Jese said.

Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao was shown a second yellow card in the 85th minute and Madrid finished with nine players after substitute Alvaro Morata came off minutes later with his left eye swollen shut following a collision.

Ronaldo’s 30th goal in all competitions this season - and 37th when counting those scored for Portugal - further justified the forward’s pick as world player of the year ahead of Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery.

Ronaldo made way for Gareth Bale in the second half, but the world’s most expensive player made little impact.

Madrid will next play Espanyol, which eliminated second-tier Alcorcon, 4-3, after a 4-2 home win.

Portuguese forward Pizzi curled home an 86th-minute goal to ensure Espanyol’s progress at the expense of Alcorcon, which famously knocked Madrid out of the competition in 2009.

A rematch with Madrid had looked likely after Alcorcon midfielder Javier Peral made it 2-2 in the 80th minute, with his side holding a 1-0 lead from the home leg.

Victor Alvarez put Espanyol ahead 3-2 minutes later but the second division side was still through thanks to the away-goals rule - until Pizzi’s curler from the left side.

Also, Mikel Rico scored two goals to send Athletic Bilbao into the last eight with a 2-0 victory against last-place Real Betis. Real Sociedad is at Villarreal on Thursday after a scoreless first leg with the winner going on to play third-tier Racing Santander next week. AP
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