Madrid thrashes APOEL 6-0 to advance in Champions League

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, center, celebrates after scoring the fifth goal of his team during the Champions League Group H soccer match between APOEL Nicosia and Real Madrid at GSP stadium, in Nicosia, on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA, Cyprus.- Karim Benzema scored twice in the first half and Cristiano Ronaldo added two goals in the second as Real Madrid thrashed Cypriot team APOEL 6-0 Tuesday to guarantee a spot in the knockout stage of the Champions League.

Luka Modric and Nacho Fernandez also scored for the defending champions, which have made it past the group stage for 22 straight seasons.

The result eliminated Borussia Dortmund, which lost 2-1 to Tottenham in Germany in the other Group H match.

Tottenham heads into the final round with 13 points, three more than Madrid. Dortmund and APOEL stayed on two points each.

Tottenham hosts APOEL on Dec. 6, while Madrid hosts Dortmund.

Modric opened the scoring with a long-range shot midway through the first half and Benzema and Fernandez added their goals seven minutes apart just before halftime.

Ronaldo scored his goals early in the second half.

Ronaldo has been struggling in the Spanish league with only one goal after 12 rounds, but he already has eight in the Champions League and is the competition’s leading scorer.

Madrid won its 12th European title last season, beating Juventus in the final.

The Spanish powerhouse is trying to become the first team since Bayern Munich in 1976 to win three consecutive European titles. Ajax did it in 1971-73, and Madrid won four in a row from 1956-60.

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