Cristiano Ronaldo Brace Leads Real Madrid Past PSG in UCL 1st Leg

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2018

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) kicks the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen first leg football match Real Madrid CF against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on February 14, 2018.   / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS        (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
GABRIEL BOUYS/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in Real Madrid's 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League round-of-16 first-leg tie on Wednesday, giving his team the advantage for the return game in France.

Adrien Rabiot gave the visitors the lead, but Ronaldo tied things up from the penalty spot, bagging his 100th UEFA Champions League goal for Los Blancos. He scored again inside the final 10 minutes, and Marcelo gave Los Blancos some breathing room with a third goal.

Here's a look at the teams:

Los Blancos started well, forcing an early corner with pressure and appealing for a penalty after Toni Kroos took a tumble in the box after a challenge from Yuri Berchiche. Replays showed it was a blatant dive from the Germany international.

Kroos had a shot turned away by PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola shortly after, before play was halted when Neymar went down with a knock. Marcelo and Dani Alves collided as well, leaving the former in a lot of pain.

Real remained on the front foot, but chances were rare. Ronaldo powered a free-kick over the bar, and Areola used his face to deny the Portugal international after a quick counter, per ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson:

The stopper also denied Sergio Ramos, easily saving his header, while at the other end of the pitch, Keylor Navas failed to do the same. Rabiot finished off a fine team move in the 33rd minute, and the Real Madrid goalkeeper was already falling away from the ball when he pulled the trigger.

Football writer Dermot Corrigan did not approve of Real's defensive effort:

There was a slight skirmish soon after, with both sides pushing and shoving following a foul by Ramos on Kylian Mbappe. Ronaldo had a chance at the other end of the pitch, but once again, he couldn't keep his shot on target.

Casemiro produced a fine block on Edinson Cavani to prevent a second goal, and Benzema went close, with Areola pulling off a great save. The Frenchman's bid for a clean sheet came undone when Giovani Lo Celso pulled down Kroos inside the box, however, and Ronaldo converted the 45th-minute penalty.

He made history in the process:

Navas made the first important save of the second half, keeping out Mbappe after a quick move through Lo Celso and Neymar, and Ramos made a strong block on Rabiot. Alves claimed the defender used his hand, and replays showed Les Parisiens perhaps should have been awarded a penalty.

Ronaldo blasted a free-kick into the wall, and Neymar nailed the referee, forcing a stoppage as he received treatment:

Ramos saved his team twice in quick succession with some heroics, blocking an effort from Mbappe before producing an even better intervention to deny Presnel Kimpembe a certain goal. 

Yuri's cross was almost turned in by Alves and Mbappe, who both came up just short, and Kimpembe did well to stop Gareth Bale from getting on the end of a cross. 

Just as PSG seemed likely to regain the lead, Ronaldo struck again in the 83rd minute, converting a rebound after Areola punched the ball back into the box. There was some controversy surrounding the goal, as Kimpembe was clearly fouled in the buildup.

PSG fell apart completely in the final minutes, though, and Marcelo added to the lead four minutes before the end, with his strike taking a deflection and sneaking past Areola. 

Football writer Andrew Gibney had some advice for PSG:

The two teams will meet again on March 6.

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