Real Madrid 2-0 Roma (4-0 agg): Cristiano Ronaldo strikes for Real
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 09/03/16 7:11am
Real Madrid eased into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-0 second-leg win (4-0 on aggregate) over Roma at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night.
The visitors missed three clear-cut openings before Real edged in front, as Mohamed Salah twice slotted wide of Keylor Navas' post and Edin Dzeko squandered his own gilt-edged chance.
And Real made them pay for their profligacy as Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez put the Spanish giants in control with two goals in four minutes after the break.
Navas superbly denied Diego Perotti a late consolation, while Luciano Spalletti introduced Francesco Totti with 15 minutes left for what could be his final Champions League appearance, but Real saw out time to keep alive their hopes of securing an 11th Champions League trophy.
With a two-goal lead in hand from their first-leg trip to Rome, Zinedine Zidane made five changes from the 7-1 hammering of Celta Vigo at the weekend as Gareth Bale made his first start since suffering a calf injury on January 17.
The Welshman, who made a goalscoring return from the bench against Celta, was involved in the first opportunity of the game as he linked up with Marcelo, but the Brazilian struck wide after Bale's pass.
And Roma should have gone ahead when Dzeko fired wide after great play from the lively Salah. The winger skipped past Sergio Ramos before teeing up the Bosnian, but his shot flashed wide of the near post with Navas to beat.
The hosts continued to dominate the play and Ronaldo and Luka Modric drew saves from Wojciech Szczesny, but it was the visitors again who carved out the best chances.
Real Madrid appealed for a foul as Dzeko found Salah in the right channel, but he pushed his effort wide as Navas rushed out to narrow the angle.
Real put together their best move of the first half 10 minutes before the break, but Ronaldo's low effort was smothered by Szczesny after bright work from Modric and Bale.
After the interval, James went close with a scissor kick before Salah let Real off the hook again, slotting wide after Dzeko's poked through ball.
Navas preserved his clean sheet with two fine saves in quick succession, first from Alessandro Florenzi and then from Kostas Manolas as Roma started the second half on top, but their wasteful finishing was soon punished.
Ronaldo bagged his 40th goal of the season in all competitions when he was first to substitute Lucas Vazquez's cross on 64 minutes, and the striker turned provider for James shortly after, teeing up his team-mate to fire through Szczesny's legs.
Ronaldo missed the chance to grab the 91st Champions League goal of his career when he side-footed wide at the back post, before Navas kept out Perotti's fine volley in the closing stages.
Real, who have bounced back with three consecutive wins following their defeat to Atletico Madrid, had 37 shots to Roma's 12 yet easily could have found themselves in trouble before the hour mark, but Zidane's side are still yet to concede a goal at home in the competition this season.