15 February 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid came from behind to stun Paris Saint-Germain 3 – 1 in the first leg of their heavyweight Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.
Ronaldo scored his 100th Champions League goal for title-holders from the penalty spot late in the first half to cancel out Adrien Rabiot’s opener for the French side at the Santiago Bernabeu, set up by Neymar.
The Portuguese star then turned the ball home from close range with seven minutes left before Marcelo secured what could turn out to be a decisive first-leg lead ahead of the return in Paris on March 6 and sent nearly 80,000 home fans into raptures.
Away at Ronaldo’s home country, Portuguese side Porto were thrashed by Liverpool 5 – 0 thanks to a hat-trick from Senegalese forward, Sadio Mane, and goals from the impressive Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Mane fired the away side ahead in the first leg of the last-16 clash, before Salah’s audacious finish for his 30th goal of the season quickly made it two.
The Senegalese forward slotted in his second as Liverpool completely outclassed their opponents, with Firmino adding his name to the scoresheet with 20 minutes to play, before Mane’s searing strike completed his first European hat-trick.
“It was important to play as a team and we did, we played great football from the beginning,” Mane told BT Sport.
“We created so many chances and we scored five. It was well deserved.”
Playing in the last 16 of the competition for the first time in nine years, Liverpool are now all but certain to reach the quarter-finals ahead of the second leg at Anfield on March 6.
An excited Sergio Ramos said of Madrid win after the match that “these days are to be remembered, and what better way to do it than with the character we showed.”
“We need to keep playing like that, with the desire to defend the Champions League. You can never consider Real Madrid to be dead and buried.”
PSG’s only goalscorer, Rabiot gave his two cent on why his team lost to a Madrid side everyone had tipped them to beat.
“We always say the same things and we always get caught out in the same way,” Rabiot told beIN Sports.
“The problem is it’s easy to score eight against Dijon, or four goals in league games. It is in these matches that you need to be decisive.”
The late collapse for PSG brings back echoes of the way they fell apart to lose 6-1 in Barcelona on their way to a humiliating exit at the same stage of the competition last season.