MADRID: Real Madrid became the first club to reach seven successive Champions League semi-finals after a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick led the record 11-times holders to an extra-time victory over Bayern Munich in the Estadio Bernabeu.
For the third successive season both Madrid clubs are in the last four, with Atletico – as predicted – proving a class better than England’s last remaining hope Leicester City.
In Madrid Real saw off 10-man Bayern 4-2 after extra-time for a 6-3 aggregate success. But, as ever, Zinedine Zidane’s men teetered on the brink before winning through.
Robert Lewandowski, who missed the first leg with a shoulder problem, put Bayern ahead on the night from the penalty spot to level the tie on aggregate following Real’s 2-1 win in Munich, where Ronaldo had scored twice.
Ronaldo’s bullet diving header in the 76th minute then looked to have sent Real through, but a bizarre own goal from captain Sergio Ramos moments later levelled things up at 3-3 overall.
The Germans had to head into extra-time with only 10 men after a harsh second caution for midfielder Arturo Vidal. Real capitalised as Ronaldo grabbed his second of the match in the 105th minute – taking him to 100 Champions League goals in the process – although he appeared to have been offside.
There was also some debate about Ronaldo’s hat-trick goal four minutes later, with the Portugal forward possibly offside again when he knocked the ball in following a fine run from Marcelo.
Substitute Marco Asensio added a fourth on the break in the 112th minute to complete a 6-3 aggregate win for the Spanish league leaders as former Real boss Carlo Ancelotti endured a miserable return to the Bernabeu.
Real, who host title rivals Barcelona in El Clasico on Sunday, were without injured Wales forward Gareth Bale.
Ronaldo said later: “We are just winners. Making six goals against a team like Bayern is not easy and we deserve to move through to the semi-finals.
“We played very well, obviously I am very happy to score all three goals, but the team has been great. We knew we had to play very well because Bayern can score goals from anywhere on the pitch and proved to be an excellent team, but Real Madrid is Real Madrid.
“In the first half we had many opportunities and we could score a goal or two, also in the second half too. Yes, we conceded two goals, but Real Madrid is used to this setback, we won and we are all very happy. ”
Ancelotti thought Bayern “deserved to come away with more.”
He said: “It is hard to come to Madrid and win over 90 minutes and moreover with 10 men. Now, Madrid continue and I wish Zizou and his side all the best.”
Atletico Madrid, leading 1-0 from their own first leg, grabbed an early lead at Leicester through Saul Niguez. Leicester levelled early in the second half through Jamie Vardy but Atletico were always in a class of their own and progressed 2-1 on aggregate.