Champions League: Cristiano Ronaldo fires Real Madrid to victory

Story highlights

  • Real Madrid wins 2-0 at Roma in Champions League
  • Cristiano Ronaldo scores his 89th goal in competition
  • Jese adds late second after entering action as substitute
  • Wolfsburg edges out Gent in Belgium

(CNN)On the day Lionel Messi rewrote the history books there was only one man ever likely to take the attention away from the Barcelona striker.

Step forward Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid forward, whose spectacular second half strike helped secure a 2-0 win at Roma in the first leg of the club's Champions League last 16 tie.
Just hours after Messi had become the first player to score 300 goals in the Spanish top division, Ronaldo showed his ability to produce his own moment of brilliance.
    The goal, Ronaldo's 89th in the competition, a record, settled a game which burst into life after Real had made the breakthrough it had threatened.
    Roma, fourth in Serie A, struggled to trouble its opponents although William Vainqueur came close to equalizing with a fierce effort which flew just wide.
    It should also have been awarded a penalty when Dani Carvajal clearly fouled Alessandro Florenzi but the referee waved away the appeals of the home players.
    Roma's misery was then compounded by another Real goal when Jese Rodriguez, on as substitute, finished off a slalom run with a fine finish.
    "We're happy with the game and the result," Zinedine Zidane, the Real coach, told the competition's official website.
    "We knew it was going to be a tough game but we fought to the end. In the first half they pressured us and that's normal in a difficult Champions League tie.
    "Cristiano Ronaldo was great but then again so was everyone. Even those who did not play were important for team morale.
    "I'm happy with Jese's goal, he deserved it for his efforts. I'm happy and I'll try to ensure the side keeps on improving."
    Roma was always going to face a difficult test against Real with the Italian side having won just one of its six group games.
    It was beaten 6-1 by Barcelona in November and sacked former coach Rudi Garcia in January after a disappointing run of form.
    Luciano Spalletti, his replacement, must now plot one of the most unlikely comebacks in Champions League history if Roma is to remain in the competition.
    That appears unlikely if this fixture is anything to go by as the home side wasted a number of promising situations and failed to find a way past Madrid's stubborn defense.

    Real deal

    After a tight first half, it was Ronaldo who made sure the game exploded into life.
    The forward had already scored 11 goals in this season's competition but his 12th was worth waiting for.
    Taking the ball on the left, he skipped inside onto his right foot before unleashing a powerful effort which flew into the top corner, albeit with the help of a slight deflection.
    He could have added a second with 13 minutes remaining but his header rolled agonizingly wide of the far post.
    Roma, which had its moments, felt it should have been given the opportunity to level when Carvajal appeared to foul Florenzi inside the penalty area.
    While the home fans and players protested furiously, the officials allowed the game to continue.
    And with four minutes remaining, Jese Rodriguez rounded off a wonderful run by arrowing an effort into the far corner.
    "We played one of our best matches this season," Florenzi told the competition's official website.
    "Sometimes you also need a bit of luck, because we actually played well and this result is not fair. Our fans applauded us."

    Wolfsburg in control

    Julian Draxler was in sparkling form for Wolfsburg
    There was late drama in Belgium as Gent kept its hopes alive with a rousing fightback against German side Wolfsburg.
    Wolfsburg looked home and dry after taking a three-goal lead within the opening hour of the contest.
    Julian Draxler's two goals and Max Kruse's strike gave the German side a 3-0 lead as the home side failed to cope with the pace and power of its opponents.
    But Gent, playing in the competition for the first time in the club's history, rallied brilliantly.
    First, Sven Kums pulled a goal back with 10 minutes remaining before Kalifa Coulibaly grabbed another to make it 3-2.
    It will now head to Germany in three weeks time with a chance of making yet more history by reaching the quarterfinal stage.