Real Madrid poised to advance in Champions League

Rome, Feb 18 (IANS) Real Madrid took a big step toward qualifying for the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over AS Roma in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie.

Relam Madrid’s French coach Zinedane Zidane went with an offensive-minded playing 11 in his Champions League debut here on Wednesday, reports Efe.

The visitors dominated play in the opening minutes and Cristiano Ronaldo had a chance to put Real Madrid ahead 1-0 in the 7th minute, but his free kick was off target.

Madrid showed greater intensity in the second half, taking the lead with a magnificent goal by Ronaldo in the 57th minute, his 12th of the tournament and 33rd of the season in all competitions.

Momentarily dazed, the hosts pressed harder and created chances with deft play from Mohamed Salah and William Vainqueur, whose fierce shot from outside the area narrowly missed the target.

But Real Madrid got the greater of the opportunities in the final stretch and after a near-miss by Ronaldo, Jese Rodriguez made it 2-0 in the 86th minute.

The teams will meet on March 8 in Madrid for the second leg of the tie.

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