Madrid shake off Roma to reach Champions League last eight

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Madrid, March 9 (IANS) Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez struck midway through the second half to complete a resounding 4-0 aggregate win for Real Madrid in a Champions League round of 16 football clash.

Madrid won the first leg at Rome 2-0 and then won by an identical margin in the second leg here on Tuesday.

Roma had plenty of chances to get back into the tie but failed to capitalise and the game was up when Ronaldo became the first player to score 90 Champions League goals. Four minutes later he turned provider, teeing up James as Madrid rubber-stamped their quarter-final place.

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said on the eve of the match that he was asking his players “to do the impossible” in overturning a 0-2 deficit at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, but it certainly looked viable early on. The visitors attacked with vigour; Madrid, to the occasional burst of whistles from their own fans, were rocking.

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The tie could have been level inside the first half an hour. Mohamed Salah led the charge, seemingly playing in fast-forward as defenders trailed in his wake. One run led to a golden opportunity for Edin Dzeko, but he squandered. Later, Salah attempted to round off his own good work but fared no better.

Early in the second period it opened up for Salah again and this time Keylor Navas was not even tested – Roma could not afford to pass up such chances. After better efforts from Alessandro Florenzi and Kostas Manolas they were made to pay as Lucas Vazquez, just on as a substitute, worked space for a cross that found Ronaldo and, decisively, the net.

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