Sun | Jul 22, 2018

Real outclass PSG in UCL - Liverpool cruise to next stage

Published:Wednesday | March 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM
PSG’s Edinson Cavani (left) tries to stop Real Madrid’s Casemiro during the Round of 16, second-leg Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris, yesterday. Real Madrid won 2-1.

PARIS (AP):

Cristiano Ronaldo punished Paris Saint-Germain's slack defending once again, scoring a powerful second-half header as Real Madrid cruised into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-1 win yesterday.

Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, PSG's fragile defence crumbled and their attack offered little threat without the injured Neymar. The biggest bang from this PSG side was from the fireworks constantly let off by a section of fans behind one goal.

Edinson Cavani's close-range goal gave PSG some hope with 20 minutes left. But with midfielder Marco Verratti already sent off, scoring two more to force extra time was beyond a lacklustre PSG side.

Instead, midfielder Casemiro's deflected shot looped past stranded goalkeeper Alphonse Areola in the 80th to make it 5-2 on aggregate. He was gifted the ball after midfielder Adrien Rabiot dealt poorly with Lucas Vazquez's cross.

To compound a miserable night for PSG fans, who so badly want to believe this side can conquer Europe, Verratti showed terrible composure in getting sent off midway through the second half. He got a second yellow card, having protested vehemently with referee Felix Brych after not getting a free kick his way.

Ronaldo had already done his usual damage.

The Champions League's all-time leading scorer was given far too much space and leapt triumphantly to beat goalkeeper Alphonse Areola with a downward header in the 51st minute. It took his tournament-leading tally to 12, including two in the first leg.

This was a huge test for a PSG side desperate to prove they belong among Europe's elite, especially after spectacularly failing last year - becoming the first team eliminated after winning the first leg 4-0. Barcelona won the return 6-1.

In the day's next game, Liverpool advanced to the quarter-finals after playing out a 0-0 draw at home with Porto, who they had already beaten 5-0 in the first leg.