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Ronaldo scores twice as Real Madrid take control against PSG

AFP  |  Madrid 

Cristiano scored twice as Real Madrid came from behind to stun Saint-Germain 3-1 in the first leg of their heavyweight last-16 tie.

scored his 100th goal for title-holders Real from the penalty spot late in the first half yesterday to cancel out opener for the French side at the Santiago Bernabeu, set up by Neymar.

The Portuguese star then turned the ball home from close range with seven minutes left before Marcelo secured what could turn out to be a decisive first-leg lead ahead of the return in on March 6 and sent nearly 80,000 home fans into raptures.

"These days are to be remembered, and what better way to do it than with the character we showed," told Spanish television.

"We need to keep playing like that, with the desire to defend the You can never consider Real Madrid to be dead and buried."

said PSG were plagued by familiar problems.

"We always say the same things and we always get caught out in the same way," told beIN

"The problem is its easy to score eight against Dijon, or four goals in league games. It is in these matches that you need to be decisive." "

The late collapse for PSG brings back echoes of the way they fell apart to lose 6-1 in on their way to a humiliating exit at the same stage of the competition last season.

Neymar, in Barcelonas ranks then, could not make the difference for PSG, who now have a huge job on their hands to turn the tie around.

Having looked set to come away with a precious draw, the defeat piles the pressure on Unai Emery, but for Real the outcome is an enormous boost for their boss

Under pressure himself with Real flagging domestically, he needed this win, and will earn praise for his substitutions, with coming off the bench to set up each of the two late goals.

That was after Zidane had taken a risk by leaving out Gareth Bale, a key element in the side that has won three of the last four Champions Leagues. The Welshmans place in the line-up was taken by

Emery went even further, dropping his to make way for 22-year-old in the centre of the PSG defence.

- Difficult night for Neymar -


Real supporters chose an image of a famous fan in Rafael Nadal to adorn a display unfurled at the south end of the ground as the sides came out, hoping their team could draw inspiration from someone who has conquered 10 times as champion.

The hosts started well too, while Neymar struggled, slipping when one pass was aimed towards him, complaining as a Luka Modric challenge sent him to the floor and picking up a yellow card for a foul on Nacho.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, saw make a fine save from his net-bound shot after he had been released by Marcelo, and not long after that, in the 33rd minute, PSG scored.

Neymar could claim an assist, although it didnt look like the Brazilian meant to help Kylian Mbappes low ball across the box from the right into the path of Rabiot, who swept home unmarked.

PSG had a precious away goal, but they could not hold their lead until the break as Giovani Lo Celso gave away a penalty for a foul on Toni Kroos.

Areola, having just made a superb save from Karim Benzema, could do nothing to keep out Ronaldos spot-kick.

The visitors had chances to go ahead again in the second half, saving well from Mbappe and blocking bravely from

Emery then surprisingly took off Edinson Cavani and replaced him with Thomas Meunier, a right-back. But it was Zidanes decision to send on Asensio that proved crucial.

In the space of three late minutes, Asensio saw one cross palmed out by Areola and then rebound into the net off Ronaldos thigh, before another assist was finished off by Marcelo, potentially finishing the tie in the process.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 09:25 IST