Madrid beats Roma 2-0 to reach Champions League quarters
MADRID >> Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez scored second-half goals to help Real Madrid defeat Roma 2-0 and advance to the Champions League quarterfinals for the sixth consecutive season on Tuesday.
Ronaldo scored his 13th goal in the competition this season by turning home a cross by substitute forward Lucas Vazquez in the 64th and Rodriguez added to the lead four minutes later with a low shot from inside the area to give Madrid a 4-0 aggregate victory.
"It was a difficult game, but in the end we got our objective which was to go through," Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. "Over the 90 minutes, many things could have happened because we were up against a team with good players, but we got the job done."
In the other game on Tuesday, Wolfsburg reached the last eight for the first time with a 1-0 win at home over Belgian champion Gent.
Roma had a few clear chances before Madrid scored but could not capitalize on them to reverse the 2-0 loss in Rome, failing in its attempt to reach the quarters for the first time in eight years.
Forward Mohamed Salah had two incredible opportunities that could have changed the match if they had gone in. Striker Edin Dzeko also was in a good position to open the scoring but squandered his chance.
"You can think that if we had scored first, the game would have been different," Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said. "But the reality is that we lost 2-0 twice. It's only right that Real Madrid will go through. We've got to improve in terms of our mentality and how decisive we are. We weren't at the level we had to be tonight."
Despite allowing chances on counterattacks, Madrid controlled the game at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where it is yet to concede a goal in four Champions League games this season. Madrid and Barcelona are the only unbeaten teams in this season's competition.
Salah's first chance came in the 28th minute, when he sent a shot into the side netting from a great position inside the area, and early in the second half he missed the target from close range.
Later, Alessandro Florenzi and Kostas Manolas had dangerous shots saved by Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas, not long before Ronaldo finally opened the scoring.
Madrid's attack finally broke through when Vazquez beat a defender on the right flank and crossed for Ronaldo to score his 90th career goal in the Champions League. Rodriguez, who had been jeered by local fans in recent games, sealed the victory after entering the area and firing a left-foot shot past Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
It was Ronaldo's 57th appearance in the knockout stage of the competition, allowing him to break Xavi Hernandez's record. The Portugal striker, who also scored a goal in the first leg, has netted five goals in six Champions League appearances against Roma. He has 40 this season in all competitions with Madrid, and is four shy of his Champions League record of 17 achieved in the 2013-14 season.
Roma was trying to reach the last eight for the first time since 2007-08, when it eliminated Real Madrid 4-2 on aggregate with a team led by Francesco Totti, who received a standing ovation by the Madrid fans at the Bernabeu when he entered Tuesday's game in the 74th minute.
Roma came to Madrid after winning its last three games by two or more goals, which was what it needed to stay alive on Tuesday.
"We didn't play badly in either leg, but we didn't take advantage of the chances we created," Spalletti said.