Champions League

Ronaldo on target as Real down Roma

2016-02-18 05:50
Cristiano Ronaldo (Supplied)

Rome - Cristiano Ronaldo hit his 89th Champions League goal while second-half substitute Jese added a late second as Real Madrid took a massive step towards the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win at Roma on Wednesday.

Real travelled to the Stadio Olimpico looking to exorcise painful memories of losing 2-1 twice in succession to the Giallorossi at this stage of the competition in 2008.

After weathering a frustrating first half in which Roma failed to finish off a series of promising attacks, Ronaldo broke the deadlock on 57 minutes when he ran on to Marcelo's chip to beat Wojciech Szczesny with a shot that deflected off Alessandro Florenzi.

It was the Portuguese forward's 12th goal in seven games this term.

To their credit, Roma dug deep to claim a share of the spoils and were unlucky not to earn a penalty when Florenzi came down under the studs-up challenge of Dani Carvajal.

Even after that decision, the hosts battled throughout a dominant late spell inspired by Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah, only to come up short.

It was inspiring stuff, but dozens of the 55,612 home crowd began leaving their seats five minutes from the finish when Jese flashed a shot across several defenders to beat Szczesny low at his far post.

The victory gives Real a huge advantage ahead of the return leg at the Santiago Bernabeu in three weeks time.

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti had deployed a 4-3-1-2 formation which left no space for Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko, although he came on to replace Stephan El Shaarawy after he limped off in the second half.

Diego Perotti, signed in January from Genoa, was the driving force throughout, stealing possession, leading attacks and setting up Salah and El Shaarawy.

Real were restricted to a series of half-chances before the interval, the best of which came from Brazilian left-back Marcelo when he volleyed Ronaldo's clever lob just wide of Szczesny's far post.

It took only seconds for Roma to threaten after the restart, Salah's pace taking him into the box but Real were able to clear.

El Shaarawy did well to run on to a long ball but came off worse when goalkeeper Keylor Navas rushed out to clear.

Ronaldo recovered quickly from a sore mouth suffered in a fair shoulder charge to stun the stadium into silence just before the hour.

Lucky to escape the offside call, the Portuguese ran on to Marcelo's lob, turned inside and unleashed a shot that came off Florenzi to leave Szczesny clutching at thin air.

Ronaldo looked inspired and he sneaked behind Roma's defence and ran onto Karim Benzema's chip, but his delivery sailed across the goalmouth with no takers.

Dzeko replaced El Shaarawy just after the hour and soon after fans were up out their seats when Radja Nainggolan set up Salah, but the Egyptian could only toe-poke a weak shot at Navas while under pressure.

Salah then dispossessed Marcelo in midfield and his pace took him past Sergio Ramos to fire low across the area, but Raphael Varane produced a timely block.

Roma were keeping the pressure on and when Nainggolan set up Dzeko on the edge of the area, the Bosnian held off his markers to set up William Vainqueur for a 30-yard drive that sailed just wide.

Sighs of relief were heard around the stadium moments later when Ronaldo's header from a long cross on the right beat Szczesny only to sail past the far post.

But Roma were finally subdued four minutes from time when Jese used several players as a screen before sending an angled drive past Szczesny and into the far corner.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.