Ronaldo and Jese leave Real Madrid in cruise control

Julian Draxler scores two as Wolfsburg beat Gent 3-2 in Belgium

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with team-mate Sergio Ramos and Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane after  scoring the opening goal of the Champions League round of 16 first leg match against Roma  at Stadio Olimpico. Photograph: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with team-mate Sergio Ramos and Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane after scoring the opening goal of the Champions League round of 16 first leg match against Roma at Stadio Olimpico. Photograph: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

 

Roma 0 Real Madrid 2

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 12th Champions League goal of the season as Real Madrid took a firm grip on their last-16 tie with a 2-0 first leg win at AS Roma on Wednesday.

The record 10 times European champions took the game to Roma, but were frustrated in the first half as the hosts kept men behind the ball, while looking to catch Real out on the break.

Ronaldo, however, ended their resistance when he took a fine pass from Marcelo on the left edge of the box and his shot deflected off Alessandro Florenzi and looped over goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny into the net just before the hour mark.

Substitute Jese added the Spanish team’s second four minutes from full-time with a solo run into the box and shot across the face of goal and inside the far post.

Two minutes earlier, Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas came out sharply to save at the feet of Stephan El Shaarawy after one of Roma’s fast and dangerous counter-attacks.

Ronaldo might have had a second goal a quarter of an hour from the end but his header at the far post was just wide from James Rodriguez’s superb cross.

Karim Benzema then saw his goalbound shot from another James cross hit Lucas Digne in the head.

At the other end, Roma substitute Edin Dzeko hit the side-netting with a header and Real were relieved when the home side were not awarded a penalty after a tackle by Dani Carvajal on Florenzi.

Gent 2 Wolfsburg 3

Julian Draxler scored twice as VfL Wolfsburg took a big step towards reaching the quarter-finals with a 3-2 victory over Gent in the first leg in Belgium.

Draxler, who joined from Schalke 04 at the start of the season, struck in the 44th minute after a classy dribble past midfielder Thomas Foket and a quick one-two with Vierinha before tucking the ball past the goalkeeper.

Gent started the second half much improved, pushing for an equaliser, but Draxler netted again in the 54th minute as he capitalised on one of many errant passes by the Gent defence.

Max Kruse then made it 3-0 and also came close to adding a fourth goal before the home team rallied with two strikes in the last 10 minutes from Sven Kums and Kalifa Coulibaly.

The Belgian top-flight champions, making their first appearance at this stage of the competition, appeared nervous at times.

Gent defended sloppily from the start and only began putting pressure on Wolfsburg’s inexperienced goalkeeper Koen Casteels towards the end of the match.

The Germans will now fancy their chances of going through when the teams meet in the second leg on March 8th.

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