After an enthralling weekend of domestic league games, Europe’s elite competition, the Champions League was back in action last night as Real Madrid took on AS Roma at the Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg of the Round of 16 encounters in the competition.
The first leg ended in a 2-0 victory for the Los Blancos who went into this game as firm favorites to move into the quarter-final of the competition.
The visitors started brightly but the likes of Salah and Dzeko wasted a number of chances and missed the chance to put the pressure on the home side early in the game.
It proved costly as Ronaldo crashed in at the near post before setting up James Rodriguez for an angled finish.
Ronaldo scored his 40th goal for the club this season and his 90th Champions League goal but could not win over the fans at the Bernabeu despite his goal and an assist to see his team through to the next round.
Though Roma gave Madrid very little to think about, it was not a walk in the park for Zidane’s men who are now through to the quarter-finals for the 6th consecutive season.
Domestically, Real Madrid are 12 points behind Barcelona at the top of the table and are out of the Copa del Rey leaving the Champions League as the only possible chance of silverware this term.
But they do not look a side that will romp their way to the 11th Champions League victory as they looked lethargic at times on the field.
The Spanish outlet impressed in attack but their casual approach to defense, particularly from left-back Marcelo, will give more potent teams hope.
Early on, Real’s leading scorer appeared to be trying too hard to win supporters over, occasionally guilty of showboating rather than taking the chance to shoot.
Once he stung the hands of Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny either side of half-time, he finally opened the scoring when he showed great anticipation to cut across Roma’s Kostas Manolas and poke in substitute Lucas Vazquez’s close-range cross.
Gareth Bale worked hard on the right wing and sent in several fizzing crosses which, had Karim Benzema been playing, might have resulted in a goal.
As it was, Real took the lead when Vasquez came on to replace Bale and set up Ronaldo with his first touch.
But strangely for a game where Real took 37 shots, Roma had the better opportunities and could have changed the mood inside the Bernabeu if Salah and Dzeko were more clinical.
The 23-year-old Egyptian international caused plenty of problems for Real with his pace on the right wing and set up Dzeko for a great early chance.
But the lack of composure shown by both was further underlined with another miss by Salah after the break, and 18 minutes later Real were 2-0 ahead.
Spalletti, the Roma coach also explained that they missed out on a number of chances and said that his team will contemplate how they threw away such a good chance.
He said, ‘”When you go into the dressing room after a 2-0 defeat, you need to be angry and realise the chances you have thrown away over these two games,” after the game.
Real Madrid are away at Las Palmas as they try to close the gap on Barcelona while Roma travel to Udinese in their bid to catch Serie A leaders Juventus.