Wednesday 26 July 2017

Ronaldo hits the 40 mark as Real see off wasteful Roma

Real Madrid 2 Roma 0 (Real win 4-0 on agg)

Cristiano Ronaldo guides the ball past Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Cristiano Ronaldo guides the ball past Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Real Madrid's Danilo and AS Roma's Edin Dzeko collide on the ball. REUTERS/Juan Medina
AS Roma's Seydou Keita and Real Madrid's challenge for a header in the Madrid box. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Real's Casemiro dribbles past Roma's Stephan El Shaarawy and Edin Dzeko. REUTERS/Susana Vera
Real Madrid's James Rodriguez makes it 2-0 on the night. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Pete Jenson

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 40th goal of the season as Real Madrid progressed into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

There was nothing new about his personal milestone - he has broken the 40-goal barrier in each of the last six seasons - but he may feel there is less chance of it counting for a major trophy this season.

Madrid did not impress for long periods against a wasteful Roma who had the chances to make more of a contest of a tie that ended 4-0 on aggregate.

But Madrid will be in the draw on March 18 and there is time for Gareth Bale to find his rhythm again after six weeks out with a calf strain and James Rodriguez to build on scoreing the second of the night.

Bale was impressive in the first hour before he was taken off by Zinedine Zidane and it was his replacement who finally brought the breakthrough, with substitute Lucas Vazquez crossing the ball for Ronaldo to poke home the first goal in the 64th minute.

DIRECTION

Rodriguez scored the second from a Ronaldo pass as Roma finally gave up the ghost on a game they might have sent in a different direction had they not been so wasteful.

The first half belonged to the goalkeepers. Arsenal loanee Wojciech Szczesny saved well from Toni Kroos, got down well to save from Luka Modric and pushed away several Cristiano Ronaldo shots. At the other end Keylor Navas was busy for Real Madrid, coming for crosses and watching former Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko's shot go safely into the side-netting after he had connected with Mohamed Salah's cross.

Salah's pace was testing Marcelo and Casemiro was struggling to keep possession in his defensive midfield role. Playing him there frees up Kroos but he looked less than comfortable in the first 20 minutes.

Bale was Real Madrid's best player, pulling into space and shooting just over Szczesny's bar. He was then played in by Modric, who nutmegged Miralem Pjanic before releasing the pass. Bale's shot was saved and Real finished the half stronger but Ronaldo was increasingly frustrated by the lack of end product.

He had to do his best not to rollick Kroos publicly when he made a lung-busting run into the area only for the German to over-hit his pass. Ronaldo threw his hands up in the air but then recovered his composure to clap his team-mate. © Independent News Service.

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