Ronaldo ends road scoring drought
Cristiano Ronaldo ended his away scoring drought with an impressive second-half goal as Real Madrid won 2-0 at Roma yesterday in the first leg of the Round of 16 in the Champions League.
The victory also marked a successful debut for Zinedine Zidane as Madrid's manager in the elite competition, with the 10-time champion taking a big step towards the quarter-finals.
It was Ronaldo's first goal on the road since November 29 when he scored a penalty against Eibar.
"Everyone expects (Ronaldo) to score, and today, he was able to," Zidane said. "I'm happy for these two away goals and that we didn't concede any goals."
Shortly before the hour mark, Ronaldo collected a pass up the left flank from Marcelo, rapidly cut inside moving the ball with a deft flick of his legs and launched a powerful shot that deflected off Roma fullback Alessandro Florenzi.
"He's a player against whom you can't concede anything. He can go right or left. It doesn't matter which way," Florenzi said. "I was also unlucky because I deflected the shot and the ball went in right under the crossbar."
After scoring, Ronaldo ran towards Zidane and hugged the French great, who replaced Rafa Benitez last month.
Substitute Jese then sealed the victory with an angled shot four minutes from the end after Roma failed to take advantage of several opportunities for an equaliser.
At the final whistle, Zidane congratulated each of his players one by one, including those who didn't play.
"I do it because the team is the most important thing," said Zidane, who scored the winning goal for Madrid in the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen. "It's the players who make the difference, and today it was Ronaldo - it's often him - but everyone's contribution is important, even those who don't play much. We win all together."
The night's other first-leg match saw Wolfsburg beat AA Ghent 3-2 in Belgium.