Cristiano Ronaldo hits double as Real Madrid floor PSG in first leg
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid hit back in style to complete a 3-1 first-leg win over PSG in the Champions League last 16.
The European champions had trailed to Adrien Rabiot's opener on 33 minutes, but Ronaldo converted a penalty to level on 45 minutes before he netted in somewhat fortuitous fashion on 83 minutes.
A Marcelo finish on 86 minutes gave the home side a two-goal lead that had scarcely seemed possible for large swathes of the match at the Bernabeu.
The second leg takes place on March 6 in Paris with the French side requiring a 2-0 win to progress to the last eight.
Neymar (PSG)Getty Images
After a cagey opening to the match, PSG drew first blood with that sought-after away goal through Rabiot. Kylian Mbappe’s excellent cross was cut out by Nacho, but Rabiot arrived unmarked to sweep home.
Then, just as it looked as the Parisiens would see the half out, Giovani Lo Celso’s clumsy foul on Toni Kroos in the penalty area gifted Ronaldo an opportunity to score his 100th Champions League goal for Real Madrid from the spot, which he converted empathically. That is now seven seasons in a row Ronaldo has scored 10 or more Champions League goals.
After the break, the goal did not change the momentum of the match, as PSG remained the better side, but Real’s knockout-stage knowhow proved to be the difference as Ronaldo netted his second with his knee, before Marcelo’s strike late on, laid on again by substitute Marco Asensio, put the holders in the driving seat in this tie.
Neymar had a great chance with the last kick of the game to turn this tie on its head, but that second away goal failed to materialise as the Brazilian and his team-mates will reflect on an opportunity missed in the Spanish capital.
TALKING POINT: Zidane’s gambles pay off to pile pressure on Emery
A manager’s reputation can often hinge on one moment. Both managers were under pressure to deliver at the Bernabeu, one went for it with their changes, the other went conservative, and fortune favoured the brave. With PSG on top, Unai Emery chose to withdraw hitman Edinson Cavani and replace him with a full-back.
Neymar (PSG) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)Getty Images
PSG lost all momentum as a result, with Real substitute Marco Asensio changing the complexion of this tie with two assists down the other end. Zidane went for the jugular, and Asensio’s impact, after replacing defensive midfielder Casemiro, coupled with a large slice of good fortune, saw Real turn this tie around.
Emery may pay for such negativity with his job.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Cristiano Ronaldo
He just keeps doing it on the big occasion time and again. He will score better goals than his brace at the Bernabeu, but rarely will he score such crucial strikes. At 33, you’d forgive him for slowing down, but having become the first player to reach 100 Champions League goals for one club, he’ll only want more and more.
- 6’ - SAVE! Kroos has time and space after a short corner to line up the shot, curls for goal, but Alphonse Areola is equal to it. The parry isn't convincing though, leaving Marquinhos with a difficult clearance, which he just slices wide of his own goal.
- 28’ - SAVE! What a pass from Marcelo! Nobody saw what the Brazilian did. Ronaldo arrives onto it, takes a touch, but his fierce shot is blocked by Areola, with his face!
- 33’ - GOOOOOOOAAAAL! Real Madrid 0-1 PSG. Huge, huge goal in this tie, as Adrien Rabiot steers the ball home. Out of nowhere, and the Parisiens are in front. Rabiot had all the time in the world to pick his spot. Where was his marker? Cross into the middle was aimed at Neymar, Nacho made the block, but Rabiot was on hand to sweep home the loose ball.
- 38’ - CHANCE! Ronaldo does really well to retrieve the ball after PSG were sloppy in possession, he drags the ball into space, goes for power, but that is always rising.
- 39’ - CHANCE! PSG should be two to the good. Neymar carves his way through the Madrid defence before shipping the ball onto Cavani in the area. He swivels and shoots at goal but his strike deflects agonisingly wide of the target, and Real clear the resulting corner.
- 44’ - PENALTY TO REAL! Kroos takes a tumble in the box to earn his side a penalty.
- 45’ - GOOOOAL! Real Madrid 1-1 PSG. Ronaldo steps up to emphatically convert from the spot to net his 10th Champions League goal of the season. Game on!
- 49’ - SAVE! Important stop from Navas. Neymar picks out Mbappe at the back post, he takes a touch, fires low, but Navas is down well to parry.
- 77’ - CLOSE! Agonisingly close from Berchiche, as he drills the ball across the face of goal, just out of Alves' reach.
- 83’ - GOOOOOOAAAALLLL! Real Madrid 2-1 PSG. In somewhat fortuitous fashion, Ronaldo is there to put Real in front. It had to be him, didn't it. Asensio drills the cross into the middle, Areola gets hand to it, pushes the ball onto the knee of Ronaldo, only to see it rebound into the net. A poacher's goal.
- 86’ - GOOOOALLLL! Real Madrid 3-1 PSG. In the blink of an eye, the holders have taken a stranglehold of this tie, with Marcelo netting a third. Three minutes and 23 seconds between the goals - strikes that could earn Zinedine Zidane a stay of execution. Asensio again with the assist, he pulled it back for Marcelo, the full-back didn't connect cleanly, but a little deflection off Marquinhos took it into the net.
- 90+3’ - CLOSE! Neymar gets on the end of a cross from Meunier, but he cannot find the target. Big chance.
- Real Madrid have won each of their seven Champions League knock-out games at the Bernabeu under Zinedine Zidane.
- Paris Saint-Germain have lost consecutive games in the Champions League for the first time since April 2015 (under Laurent Blanc).
- Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in Champions League history to score 100 goals for a single team (101 goals in 95 appearances for Real Madrid).
- The Portuguese international has now scored 10+ goals in seven consecutive Champions League campaigns, while no other player has done so in more than two.
- Ronaldo’s last 12 appearances in the Champions League have seen him score 21 goals, while the only game which he failed to score in this run was against Atletico Madrid in May 2017.
- Paris Saint-Germain have scored 127 goals in 39 games in all competitions this season; the most of any team in the Top 5 European Leagues.
- Adrien Rabiot scored his first Champions League goal since April 2016 (v Manchester City), while each of his five goals in all competitions for PSG this term have come in different competitions.
- Gareth Bale made his 50th Champions League appearance in this game, becoming only the second Welshman to do so (after Ryan Giggs, who made 141 appearances).