After six seasons of disappointments at this stage of European club football’s elite competition, Madrid players and fans could have been forgiven for suffering a few pre-match nerves.
However, as soon as Marcelo had put Madrid n front with an exquisite solo opener late in the first half, there were few doubts José Mourinho’s side would falter. Thriving under Mourinho this season, Brazil left-back Marcelo ventured into an attacking position before playing a one-two with Cristiano Ronaldo. Showing all the skill and composure of a striker, he left Cris and Dejan Lovren in his wake and sent a shot in off Lloris’ outstretched hand.
Benzema struck a second in consecutive games against his former employers in the 66th minute when he took advantage of a tussle between Özil and Lovren before running through and slipping a shot between Lloris’s legs.
Di Maria sent the Madrid faithful into rapture when he took Özil’s headed pass before chipping the ball past Lloris to confirm Madrid’s long-awaited progression to the quarter-finals.
The final minutes were marked by a great atmosphere on the stands given that the team was about to reach the quarterfinals for the first time in six years. As soon as the ref blew the whistle, players from both sides had a nice gesture and wore shirts in support of Eric Abidal.