Cristiano Ronaldo became the seventh highest scorer in Real Madrid’s history as they defeated Celta Vigo 4-0 in the second leg of their Copa Del Rey round of 16 clash at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
The Portuguese’s hat-trick saw him move past Pirri in the club’s all-time rankings with 174 goals, as los Blancos overcame a 2-1 first-leg deficit to progress by a 5-2 aggregate scoreline, and set up a quarter final date with Valencia.
Ronaldo opened the scoring with a long-range effort two minutes into the match, and added his second on 24 minutes with a cool finish from close range to seemingly put the hosts in control.
But Celta would come out of their shell in the second half, creating a number of chances as Madrid, dented by Sergio Ramos’ 73rd minute red card, were forced to play the latter stages on the back foot.
However, Ronaldo would put nerves around the Bernabeu to rest with his third goal minutes from the end, before Sami Khedira made it 4-0 on the stroke of injury time to finally seal the home side’s passage into the next round.
Jose Mourinho restored Iker Casillas to the starting lineup in place of Antonio Adan, with Ramos also returning to the centre of defence to displace Raphael Varane as the partner for Ricardo Carvalho.
And Madrid needed only 90 seconds to eradicate their deficit, as Ronaldo punished a napping Celta defence with a stunning piledriver from outside the box that flew into the far corner.
All the football was being played by the hosts, and it came as no surprise when they doubled their tally with 24 minutes on the clock. Ronaldo again made the breakthrough, latching onto a fantastic clipped pass from Luka Modric to bury a cool, one-touch finish into the net.
Karim Benzema could have made it 3-0 on the night just before the half-hour mark when he took aim from an unmarked position inside the box, but he could only place his shot within the grasp of Sergio.
And the Celta stopper was called into action again minutes later to stop a goalbound Mesut Ozil shot with his legs, after the German international had initially looked to have rounded the keeper for a tap in.
Sergio was kept busy for the remainder of the half, but came up with a brilliant double save on Karim Benzema from point blank range to keep Celta in the hunt heading into the break.
The visitors were certainly improved in the second-half, and Park Chu Young nearly brought them back into the game after coming within inches of turning home a dangerous cross by Enrique De Lucas, who then tested Casillas with a rasping drive from just inside the box.
Celta were looking increasingly dangerous, and Ramos would ensure a tense ending to the game when he departed with his second yellow card, given after kicking out at Augusto Fernandez, an incident which could have warranted a straight red on its own.
The visitors looked to sieze the initiative, and twice forced the very best out of Casillas with a pair of testing efforts from Michael Krohn-Dehli and Agusto Fernandez in the last ten minutes.
But Ronaldo would finally end Celta’s brave challenge in the 88th minute after clinically finishing off a counterattack, before Khedira rounded off matters at the death with a deft shot after manouvering into space inside the area.
Madrid will now ready themselves for a quarter-final clash against Liga rivals Valencia, with the first leg set to take place at the Bernabeu on January 15.