Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice in the Bernabéu as Real Madrid negotiated a tricky tie against visiting Sporting to secure a 2-1 victory.
Sporting arrived in the Spanish capital with one of the worst away records in the division but Abelardo's side can be thoroughly proud of their performance, which was one Duje Cop miss away from reaping an unlikely point.
Real eased into a 2-0 first half lead but then appeared to take their eye off the ball as Sporting enjoyed a spell of possession in midfield that resulted in a deserved goal from the boot of Carlos Carmona.
Sporting came out after the break fired up from their ascendancy towards the end of the first period and gave Real a torrid second 45 in the torrential rain lashing the stadium. The visitors' pressure was rewarded in the 76th minute when substitute Víctor Rodríguez was brought down by Nacho in the area. However, Croatian striker Duje Cop fired his effort high and wide with Keylor Navas going to the other way to the considerable relief of the Bernabéu.
Sporting continued to press for an equalizer and were easily a match for the European Champions but Ronaldo's double was sufficient to separate the sides when the whistle blew.