A quick-fire double from Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez killed off Roma’s hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League as Real Madrid stumbled into the last-eight of the competition on Tuesday night.
The Italian visitors went to the Santiago Bernabeu in fine form, having won their last seven successive league games. However, they faced an uphill task, having to overturn a 2-0 deficit.
It was indeed Luciano Spalletti’s side who threatened largely for much of the second-leg, with Mohamed Salah and Edin Dzeko going close in the first-half.
Whilst Madrid dominated the possession and shots on goal, Zinedine Zidane’s men never really threatened goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in the Roma goal.
The Serie A outfit continued to threaten in the second period, but Los Blancos looked to have killed off the tie when Ronaldo put the hosts ahead just after the hour mark. Lucas Vazquez used a quick burst of pace to beat Lucas Digne just inside the box, and his low cross was converted by the Portuguese winger – his 40th goal of the season.
Shortly after, it was 2-0 to the Spanish outfit. Ronaldo turned provider, dribbling into the penalty area and laying off to Rodriguez, whose shot went through Szczesny and sealed Real Madrid’s place in the last-eight.
Diego Perrotti hit the post for the Serie A side late on, but by then the match was done and dusted, and Madrid will now participate in their sixth consecutive Champions League quarter-final.
Meanwhile Tuesday night’s other tie saw Wolfsburg qualify for their first-ever Champions League quarter-final after their 1-0 win against Belgian champions Gent sealed a 4-2 aggregate victory.
With just one win in their last nine Bundesliga games, Gent would have felt confident of securing an upset, but Dieter Hecking’s side did enough to hold off their opponents at the Volkswagen Arena.
Josuha Guilavogui had the best chance of the first-half for the Wolves, but his effort from just outside the area was saved by Matz Sels.
Gent were forced to play without a recognised striker, as talisman Laurent Depoitre missed out through injury, and it showed as the Buffalo’s failed to carve out many chances of their own. Pacey forward Moses Simon managed to slip through Danijel Milicevic early in the second-half, but the Swiss lashed his shot wide.
Wolfsburg killed off the tie late in the second-half, as Julian Draxler reached the byline and put in a low ball for former Chelsea winger Andre Schurrle, who finished with ease.
Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s men were massive underdogs, and never really threatened ‘keeper Koen Casteels in the Wolfsburg goal. They can hold their heads high though, as they became the first-ever Belgian team to progress from the Champions League group stages.
Whichever side progressed would have been among the weaker sides left in the competition, and over the two legs, Wolfsburg showed they were more worthy of mixing it with the ‘big boys’ in the quarter-finals.