Holders Real Madrid cruised into the champions league quarter-finals with Cristiano Ronaldo’s second-half goal, helping them to a 2-1 victory at PSG on Tuesday as the 12-time European champions went through 5-2 on aggregate.
The team news saw Angel Di Maria replace the injured Neymar, while Marco Asensio and Mateo Kovacic came in for Toni Kroos and Luka Modric in real’s midfield. Asensio was a cut above during some cagey opening exchanges. The 22-year-old’s range of passing was a delight, as a long ball released Ronaldo to tee up Benzema, who couldn’t make the most of the chance.
PSG turned to their own gifted youngster to carry a threat, with 19-year-old forward Kylian Mbappe lively in both channels early on. However, Mbappe, Di Maria and co. consistently found it difficult to break the visitors down.
The second half began with flares being let off among the PSG supporters. Smoke didn’t stop real from taking the lead five minutes later when Asensio broke. A delightful reverse pass from the young maestro gave Vazquez time to hand a deep cross for the irrepressible Ronaldo to power in with his head.
PSG’s task looked impossible once Verratti was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 65th minute. Despite their numerical disadvantage, PSG did get one back with 20 minutes remaining, when Cavani bundled over from close range.
The goal proved a false dawn though, as real salted away the tie on 79 minutes when Casemiro’s shot was deflected in. Elsewhere, Liverpool hosted Porto at Anfield in a match that ended 0-0, Liverpool had done their job in the first leg of this tie when they beat the Portuguese side 5-0 at the Estadio de Dragao. Liverpool now join Real Madrid as the first two teams to book a quarter final place in Europe’s top club competition.