Ron­aldo scores twice to lift Real over PSG in Cham­pi­ons League last 16 play

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - REPORT ON BUSINESS | SPORTS - TALES AZZONI MADRID

Cris­tiano Ron­aldo scored a goal in each half as Real Madrid came from be­hind to de­feat Paris Sain­tGer­main 3-1 in their first-leg match in the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League on Wed­nes­day.

PSG struck first with a goal by Adrien Ra­biot, but Ron­aldo equal­ized by con­vert­ing a penalty kick just be­fore half­time and added to the lead in the 83rd. Marcelo sealed the victory three min­utes later to give the two-time de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons a com­mand­ing lead head­ing into the sec­ond leg in Paris on March 6.

PSG showed its strength against the Euro­pean cham­pi­ons, play­ing well in an ex­cit­ing backand-forth match at San­ti­ago Bern­abeu sta­dium, but Madrid’s late goal sig­nif­i­cantly hurt its chances of fi­nally suc­ceed­ing in the Cham­pi­ons League.

This was PSG’s first ma­jor test since the Qatari-funded club spent a record €222-mil­lion ($345.5-mil­lion) to get Ney­mar from Barcelona with the aim of be­com­ing a ma­jor force in Euro­pean soc­cer.

Madrid, a 12-time Cham­pi­ons League win­ner, has won the tour­na­ment in three of the past four sea­sons.

Ron­aldo reached 101 Cham­pi­ons League goals in 95 matches with Madrid, a record for a player with the same club. He has 11 goals in seven Cham­pi­ons League matches this sea­son.

Madrid had ap­peared in con­trol but PSG opened the scor­ing in the 33rd minute with Ra­biot’s shot from in­side the area on a play that in­volved all three PSG for­wards. Kylian Mbappé started it with a run on the right side, then Edin­son Ca­vani smartly let the ball through after Mbappé’s cross into the area and it ended with Ra­biot after Ney­mar’s at­tempt was de­flected by a de­fender.

Not long be­fore the goal, Ron­aldo squan­dered one of the game’s best chances in a one-on-one sit­u­a­tion with Alphonse Are­ola, his shot hit­ting the goal­keeper’s face. Ron­aldo also missed a few min­utes later, send­ing a close-range shot over the cross­bar.

But he was perfect from the penalty spot just be­fore half­time after Toni Kroos was gen­tly pulled in­side the area by Gio­vani Lo Celso, the young mid­fielder who was a sur­prise ad­di­tion to the start­ing lineup in place of Las­sana Diarra.

Are­ola dived the cor­rect way – to his right – but wasn’t able to stop Ron­aldo’s firm shot. Are­ola had just made a bril­liant save on Karim Ben­zema’s well-placed strike from just out­side the area.

It was PSG that was in com­mand in the sec­ond half, cre­at­ing most of the sig­nif­i­cant chances, but Ron­aldo struck again by scor­ing the go-ahead goal with his knee after Are­ola par­ried a low cross by sub­sti­tute Marco Asen­sio. It only got better for Madrid when Marcelo scored from in­side the area after an­other cross from Asen­sio from the left side.


PORTO, POR­TU­GAL Liver­pool put one foot in the Cham­pi­ons League quar­ter-fi­nals with a 5-0 away rout of Porto in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Wed­nes­day.

Sa­dio Mané scored a hat trick and Mo­hamed Salah and Roberto Firmino pro­vided the other two goals to give the Premier League side a huge ad­van­tage ahead of the sec­ond leg at An­field on March 6.

A mis­take from Porto goal­keeper Jose Sa al­lowed Mané’s shot to squirm un­der his body after a slow start from the vis­i­tors, and Salah dis­played all his class to make it 2-0 four min­utes later in­side the first half-hour.

The home side showed prom­ise after the break, but was caught on a coun­ter­at­tack when Sa saved Firmino’s effort, only to push the ball to­ward Mané’s feet. The Sene­gal striker needed no sec­ond in­vi­ta­tion for his sec­ond goal.

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