Real Madrid ease into Champions League quarters

Date published: Tuesday 8th March 2016 10:15

Real Madrid: Top of the shop

Real Madrid: Top of the shop

Real Madrid made Roma pay for wasted opportunities as they secured a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 2-0 win at the Bernabeu.

The Italians needed to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg, but created enough chances during the first half to be at least on level terms as Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah both missed when played clear through on goal.

And eventually Madrid made the breakthrough when in-form Cristiano Ronaldo scored from close range after 64 minutes, with James Rodriguez adding a quick second to end any hopes of a recovery.

Roma, who had not reached the Champions League quarter-finals since 2008, came to Spain having won their last seven Serie A games under Luciano Spalletti to climb to third in the table.

Real Madrid named Gareth Bale in the starting XI for the first time since January 17 following his return from a calf injury.

The visitors started with some intent as right-back Alessandro Florenzi floated a cross across the Madrid area.

It was, though, not long before Madrid were on the front foot, with Bale getting away down the left to pick out Marcelo, but the defender slipped as he shaped to shoot and stabbed the ball wide.

Roma wasted a great chance to go ahead on 14 minutes.

Egypt midfielder Salah worked the ball across from the right, allowing Dzeko in on the overlap, but the Bosnia-Herzegovina striker could only stab an angled shot wide.

Wojciech Szczesny, the on-loan Arsenal goalkeeper, produced a good reaction save to palm away a deflected 20-yard shot from Luka Modric.

Roma opened the home side up again when breaking quickly as Madrid appealed for a foul on Danilo, which was not given, and Salah was played into the right side of the area.

However, Madrid keeper Keylor Navas was quickly off his line, forcing the midfielder to slash his shot wide.

At the other end, Szczesny was alert to get down to block a low shot from Ronaldo, who netted four goals during the second half of Saturday’s 7-1 thumping of Celta Vigo.

Madrid continued to play a high defensive line and were almost caught out again just before half-time, but Salah could not provide a finish to another swift counter.

Szczesny was called into action again at the start of the second half when he saved from first Rodriguez and then Ronaldo.

Roma spurned yet another clear opening on 50 minutes when Salah stabbed wide from 12 yards before Navas saved from Florenzi.

Madrid eventually went ahead after 64 minutes when Ronaldo converted substitute Vazquez Lucas’ cross from the right.

Rodriguez added a second three minutes later, the Colombian slotting through Szczesny’s legs after being played into the left of the area by Ronaldo.

The Portuguese forward missed a chance to make it 3-0 when he dragged an angled shot wide.

Roma were denied a late consolation when Diego Perotti’s strike came back off the base of a post and was then deflected away by Navas.

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