Cristiano Ronaldo Isco Javier Hernandez Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco and Javier Hernandez celebrate the winner against Atletico MadridReuters

Javier Hernandez, the man who has been on the fringes of Manchester United and Real Madrid over the last few seasons, grabbed the spotlight in dramatic style, sweeping home the winner to help the defending champions see off a stubborn-as-ever Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

Heading into the second leg at the Bernabeu with the tie locked at 0-0, Real Madrid were expected to go for the jugular from the off, even with the likes of Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema out injured.

Poor finishing, couple of them from Hernandez and one from Cristiano Ronaldo, though, kept the quarterfinal tie on a knife's edge and it looked like we just might get extra time again, when Ronaldo did the next best thing to scoring.

Laying the ball on a plate for Hernandez, who had to be in the right place at the right time, after a one-two, Ronaldo ensured Real Madrid would not have to go into extra time to see off Atletico for the second season running, with the 88th minute goal from the on-loan Manchester United striker enough to give the holders a 1-0 aggregate win.

"Chicharito played very well," said Ancelotti of Hernandez, who only got into the team following injuries to Bale and Benzema. "He has had a difficult season and deserves this goal.

"It was a key game in our season. Atletico are always a strong team but we did well. The first leg gave us the confidence that we could control this match and score. We have kept our dream of playing another final alive. We are going to try to win everything. When we are firing, we are very dangerous. Every match is an exam for us. We passed this one well."

While it is onto another semifinal for Real Madrid, Atletico, the finalists from last season, bow out in commendable fashion. While you can question the kind of football played by the Madrid side under Diego Simeone, what cannot be questioned is the side's quality and commitment to give a difficult game no matter what opponent.

"I go away proud of my team," said Simeone. "Once more we competed really well in the UEFA Champions League, which is a very difficult competition. I am sure I have a team of men, a team that work hard. At times we can play better or worse, but I am so proud of the players and of being the coach of the type of players who give what they gave.

"When I was a boy I was taught you have to compete in a game and when I gave everything and lost, I could go home happy. When the team work as they did, there are no negative feelings. I think a lot of coaches would envy having players that run for 90 minutes despite the difficulties in front of them. We congratulate Real because they played very well and scored a great goal."

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