MADRID: Two late Real Madrid goals earned the reigning Champions League holders a 3-1 home victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their second round tie.
Zinedine Zidane’s side had fallen behind to Adrien Rabiot’s opener before Cristiano Ronaldo levelled from the penalty spot prior to the break.
Zidane, under increasing pressure due to Real’s domestic struggles, then introduced Marco Asensio with 11 minutes to go and the substitute’s cross was eventually turned in by Ronaldo’s knee, with another Asensio cross then finished by Marcelo for the second goal in three minutes.
Ronaldo has become the only player to score 100 Champions League goals with one club, ahead of Barcelona’s Leo Messi (97).
Real started the game with real intent, pressing high up and appealing, in vain, for a penalty inside 70 seconds when Toni Kroos went down.
Isco, preferred to Gareth Bale, set up Ronaldo for a half volley that he flashed wide before Kroos’ effort from a short corner was saved by Alphonse Areola.
PSG were getting some joy down the left with Neymar, but the Brazilian earned himself an early caution with a hack at Nacho.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LGE, 2nd rnd, 1st legs: Porto 0, Liverpool 5; Real Madrid 3, Paris S-G 1. TUESDAY: Basel 0, Manchester City 4; Juventus 2, Tottenham 2
Neymar should have done better when instigating a three-on-two attack and he appeared caught in two minds between shooting and passing to Kylian Mbappe before Real cleared and immediately broke.
A brilliant Marcelo pass released Ronaldo and his first one-on-one opportunity was blazed into Areola’s face as the keeper came out.
Sergio Ramos nodded a Kroos corner at the PSG stopper too before the visitors struck first at the other end.
Dani Alves’ cross was intended for Edinson Cavani but he stepped over it and though Nacho prevented Neymar from reaching the ball, Rabiot was left all alone on the edge of the box to plant a right-footed finish home.
Ronaldo should have equalised shortly after, and perhaps did not realise he had as much time and space as he did when firing over.
However, the hosts would level prior to the interval when they won a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Kroos got the ball from another short corner and Giovani Lo Celso, who had already been booked, put his left hand on the German’s shoulder to pull him to the ground.
Areola guessed right from the spot yet was powerless to prevent Ronaldo’s vicious penalty going beyond him to make it 1-1.
PSG had the better of the second half and could have swiftly restored their lead had Keylor Navas not reacted quickly to push out Mbappe’s low drive.
Neymar could consider himself fortunate he was not dismissed for two yellow cards just after the hour mark having clearly dived when trying to win a free-kick off Casemiro. Referee Gianluca Rocchi did not award a free-kick either way and then caught a Neymar pass on the side of the head moments later.
Despite Bale’s introduction, it looked liked the French side would end the night as winners as Ramos blocked from Presnel Kimpembe and Alves nearly reached Yuri Berchiche’s cross.
However, Asensio’s arrival in the 79th minute proved pivotal. It was his 83rd-minute delivery across the six-yard box that Areola turned onto Ronaldo’s knee, with the ball looping up over the line to give Real the lead.
Then, with four minutes to go, Asensio crossed again from the left and Marcelo’s first-time finish beat Areola again to ensure Real will head to France with a first-leg lead.
Easy for Liverpool
Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick and Mohamed Salah continued his phenomenal run with a 30th of the season as Liverpool won 5-0 at Porto to virtually assure themselves a Champions League quarter-final place.
Mane was in the right place at the right time to score twice in the first half before rifling home his hat-trick just before the end, to overshadow the exploits of Salah, whose brilliant individual effort made him the second fastest to the 30-goal landmark in the club’s history and the quickest for 122 years.
Roberto Firmino also had an outstanding game and his goal – his seventh in Europe this season, with only Cristiano Ronaldo scoring more – was just reward for the Brazilian.
It ensured a comfortable night in the Estadio do Dragao as the Reds’ first knockout encounter in nine years at this level. Their 28 goals is more than anyone else in the Champions League this term, with 25 coming in their last five games.
Their third win in Portugal in 11 attempts was a good omen: on the two previous occasions – at Benfica in 1978 and 1984 – they went on to win the Champions Cup.