Wednesday February 14 2018
Ronaldo double gives Madrid advantage

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to help Real Madrid to a 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League tie.

Marcelo got Madrid’s other goal with a scuffed, deflected attempt that beat Alphonse Areola at his near post.

Adrian Rabiot netted with just over 30 minutes played after finding space on the edge of the Madrid penalty area following a Kylian Mbappe cross that fell kindly.

Ronaldo converted a penalty on the stroke of half time after Giovani Lo Celso was adjudged to have fouled Toni Kroos, Areola unable to make the save, and then was alert when Marco Asensio’s cross sat up and he was able to knee the ball over the line.

Madrid sprung a surprise with their XI as Isco got the nod ahead of Gareth Bale, while Unai Emery included ex-Barcelona pair Neymar and Dani Alves but neither of the Madrid old boys, Lassana Diarra and Angel Di Maria.

The home side started strongly with Kroos appealing in vain for a penalty and Cristiano Ronaldo flashing a cross-shot past Areola, while Marquinhos nearly sliced past his own goalkeeper after Areola saved a Kroos drive.

The visitors came more into the match as the first half wore on and neither side was able to create a notable chance, a free kick from the edge of the PSG penalty area put over the bar by Ronaldo the clearest sight of goal.

Areola had to be brave to stop a Ronaldo effort with his face just after Neymar failed to find Mbappe in the Madrid box, but a few minutes later PSG were in front through Rabiot.

Ronaldo stole possession in the PSG penalty area moments later but wasted the chance to equalise by blasting over, and Cavani’s attempt at doubling PSG’s lead was deflected wide by Sergio Ramos.

A scramble in the PSG box nearly produced an equaliser and Areola had to keep out a Karim Benzema effort but he could do nothing about Ronaldo’s spot kick.

Keylor Navas produced the first save of the second half after Neymar picked out Mbappe, the goalkeeper getting a good hand to the daisy-cutting shot, Ramos then producing his second big block of the game - this time possibly with his arm - to get in the way of a powerful Rabiot strike.

Neymar also rode his luck a little after going down too easily having already been booked in the first half and there was no luck for referee Gianluca Rocchi, who needed attention after getting a well-struck Neymar pass in the side of the head from just a few yards away.

A third Ramos block prevented PSG converting a goal-mouth scramble but the away team’s biggest threat was on the break through Neymar and Mbappe, though neither could get the final ball quite right. Yuri suffered from the same problem when his cross was inches from Alves’ boot.

PSG tried to sure up the 1-1 by introducing right-back Anthony Meunier and pushing Alves further forward but both of Madrid’s second goals came down the PSG right after Emery made the switch.

Madrid brought on Gareth Bale, Lucas Vazquez and Asensio to try and find a lead to take to Paris and it was thanks to Asensio that they went in front with seven minutes to play, his run and cross causing confusion in the PSG area and Ronaldo converting a looping ball with his knee.

Asensio played a key role in Madrid’s third, picking out Marcelo, making a match-winning contribution and putting Los Blancos in pole position to reach the last eight.

Real Madrid 3-1 PSG

Rabiot 33 (PSG), Ronaldo 45, 83, Marcelo 86 (RM)

Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Nacho, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro (Vazquez 79), Kroos, Modric, Isco (Asensio 79); Benzema (Bale 68), Ronaldo

Paris Saint-Germain: Areola; Alves, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Yuri; Lo Celso (Draxler 84), Rabiot, Verratti; Mbappe, Neymar, Cavani (Meunier 66)

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