Prior to their 450th game in Europe, Real Madrid paid their respects to midfielder José María Zárraga, a winner of five European Champion Clubs’ Cups with Madrid, who passed away on Tuesday.
Mourinho sent out an attacking line-up and Gonzalo Higuaín almost scored in the opening minutes, heading wide from close range before Ronaldo drew a save from Urko Pardo.
APOEL could only hold out for 26 minutes before Real Madrid scored as Ronaldo scored his 54th goal in 52 appearances for club and country this term, knocking in Marcelo’s bouncing centre at the far post.
Real went further behind 11 minutes later and it was again Marcelo who provided the assist, this time to compatriot Kaká, who arced an exquisite right-footed shot from outside the area around the despairing dive of Pardo.
The Liga leaders got the second half under way with another Kaká shot that zipped wide, and it was that effort that finally provided the spark for APOEL to mount their first serious attack. Constantinos Charalambides led the way with a testing shot which flew over Iker Casillas’s crossbar before the visitors halved their arrears on the night with a smart move. Marcinho fed Aílton and he found Manduca, whose penetrating run ended with a calm finish past Casillas.
It was the prelude to a frantic conclusion, with Ronaldo increasing his side’s lead with a free-kick from the left. Substitute Callejón registered his fifth goal in as many UEFA Champions League outings when he cut a low drive past Pardo for 4-1, but APOEL again responded via Solari’s penalty after Hamit Altıntop tripped Aldo Adorno in the area.
Di María’s deft chip, following a cute Kaká back heel, concluded the scoring. Madrid can now look forward to a trip to Bayern in the first leg of their semi-final on 17 April.