Champions League: Real Madrid Beat PSG, Liverpool Rout Porto 5-0
Ronaldo has 11 goals in seven Champions League matches this season, the most by any player.
Paris Saint-Germain showed its strength against the European champions, but it wasn't enough to stop Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo scored a goal in each half as Real Madrid came from behind to defeat PSG 3-1 in their first-leg match in the last 16 of the Champions League on Thursday, taking a commanding lead into the second leg in Paris on March 6.
Ronaldo increased his Champions League tally with Madrid to 101 goals in 95 matches, a record for a player with the same club. He has 11 goals in seven Champions League matches this season, the most by any player.
It’s always special when you score and the team wins. It was an important victory. It’s not over yet but we have a good advantage for the second leg.Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid
Ronaldo has scored in each of the first seven Champions League matches this season, also a record. He has netted at least 10 goals in the tournament for seven straight seasons.
“We always end up saying the same things about him,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said of Ronaldo. “He always makes the difference in important games and that's what he did tonight.”
On a mission to become a major force in European soccer, PSG played well from the start in an exciting back-and-forth match against the two-time defending champions, but the late goals significantly hurt their chances of finally succeeding in the Champions League.
This was PSG's first significant test since the Qatari-funded club spent a record 222 million euros to sign Neymar from Barcelona in a bid to break into the continent's elite.
“Our team played a great game, we showed a lot of personality,” PSG coach Unai Emery said. “We deserved a better result.”
Triumph against PSG could help Madrid turn its fortunes around in what has been an up-and-down season for the Spanish powerhouse. Zidane's job has been in doubt after a series of poor results in the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey.
“This club has 12 Champions League titles and there's a reason for that,” Zidane said. “The players know how important this competition is. We showed our worth for the whole 90 minutes.”
PSG struck first with a goal by Adrien Rabiot, but Ronaldo equalised by converting a penalty kick just before halftime and added to the lead in the 83rd. Marcelo sealed the victory three minutes later.
In the end we always get beaten the same way. It’s annoying and I’m very disappointed. It’s easy to score eight past Dijon and score four or five in the (French) league, but we have to be decisive in games like this.Adrien Rabiot, Paris Saint-Germain
Meanwhile, Liverpool put one foot in the Champions League quarterfinals with a 5-0 away rout of Porto in the first leg of their round of 16 match on Thursday.
Sadio Mane scored a hat trick and Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino provided the other two goals to give the Premier League side a huge advantage ahead of the second leg at Anfield on March 6.
“It was hard work, but in the end the boys enjoyed it,” Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said after the club's first appearance in the knockout stage of the Champions League for almost nine years.
I saw a lot of fantastic performances tonight and a result like this is only possible if everyone is really at the top of their game. They did it well and that’s the only way to be successful.Juergen Klopp, Coach, Liverpool
Liverpool is the top-scoring side in the competition with 28 goals.
“We knew we were facing a great team, but we weren't expecting this,” said Porto defender Alex Telles, whose team was without injured midfielders Danilo Pereira and Andre Andre. Striker Vincent Aboubakar was also out with a muscle problem.
Virgil van Dijk marshaled Liverpool's defense on his Champions League debut for the club following his winter switch from Southampton.
“We needed to play as a team and that's what we did,” Mane said after his first hat trick for Liverpool. “We played great football, created great chances and scored five goals. I enjoyed the fifth goal the most.”
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.