ROME: Zinedine Zidane made a winning start to his managerial career in the Champions League as a 2-0 victory in the Italian capital put Real Madrid firmly in control of their second round tie with Roma.
A game that had been cagey in the first half opened up in the second, and Cristiano Ronaldo broke the deadlock in the 57th minute.
Both teams had a number of chances after that but it was Real who took advantage, with 22-year-old substitute Jese scoring his first Champions League goal four minutes from time.
The visitors enjoyed the best of what chances there were in the first half but they were largely restricted to long-range efforts. The closest Madrid came was a dipping volley from the lively Marcelo in the 33rd minute.
Roma threatened sporadically and might have taken the lead at the end of the half but for a superb last-ditch tackle from Raphael Varane to deny Stephan El Shaarawy.
Soon after the interval El Shaarawy broke through again only to be foiled by goalkeeper Keylor Navas, and moments later Ronaldo put Real ahead.
Marcelo played in the forward down the left and he cut inside before unleashing a shot that was deflected past Wojciech Szczesny. It was his 12th Champions League goal of the campaign.
Roma pressed forward in search of an equaliser and were caught on the break in the closing stages. Zidane, who scored the winning goal for Real in the 2002 Champions League final, sent on Jese for James Rodriguez in the 82nd minute and four minutes later the substitute shot beyond Wojciech Szczesny.
In the other tie Gent rescued a thin Champions League lifeline with two late goals in a 3-2 home defeat by Wolfsburg.
Neither side had ever made the knockout stages before but Wolfsburg went into the tie as favourites and lived up to their billing as they cruised into a three-goal lead.
Julian Draxler was Gent’s tormentor in chief, the 22-year-old scoring twice before Max Kruse added a third.
But the game changed with Sven Kums’ goal 10 minutes from time, and Kalifa Coulibaly then pulled another one back to make the second leg far from the formality it had appeared.