Real Madrid vs. Roma: Winners and Losers from Champions LeagueMarch 8, 2016
Real Madrid vs. Roma: Winners and Losers from Champions League
Real Madrid moved through to the last eight of the UEFA Champions League with a 2-0 home win over AS Roma, giving them a 4-0 aggregate victory.
An eventful first half was far more memorable for missed chances than spectacular play, with Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah particularly culpable. After the break, Roma continued to spurn opportunities in front of goal—and Real Madrid made them pay with two goals in four minutes from Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez.
Here are all our winners and losers from the match.
Winner: Wojciech Szczesny
Roma would have been dead and buried in the tie a lot earlier than the hour mark if not for goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
The Polish 'keeper was extremely busy as Real Madrid looked to take pot shots from range, created a few one-on-one openings and generally sliced Roma apart at will in patches, forcing the on-loan Arsenal man into plenty of interventions.
Ronaldo, Toni Kroos, James and others were all denied by Szczesny before he was finally breached.
Loser: Mohamed Salah
Roma had so many chances to not just make the tie interesting but to actually bring themselves back on level terms on aggregate before Real had actually found the net.
The first was created by Mohamed Salah and wasted by Edin Dzeko, but thereafter the tag of chief wastrel belonged firmly to the Egyptian winger.
Salah missed two gilt-edged one-on-one chances, tamely failing to hit the target when not really under any pressure at all—and soon after the second one, Real flew clear in the tie.
Winner: Keylor Navas
Szczesny impressed at one end, but so did Keylor Navas at the other.
The Real Madrid goalkeeper still hasn't conceded a single goal in the Champions League this season—he didn't play against Shakhtar Donetsk, the only team Real have seen score against them—and made several impressive stops to ensure his latest clean sheet.
Testament to Keylor's professionalism, ability and concentration was a late stop to deny Alessandro Florenzi; the game was already over by then, but the Costa Rican stopper still flew across to make a terrific save low by the post and ensure Real went through without conceding.
Marcelo contributed on a few occasions going forward as he returned to the starting XI after injury, but every major Roma chance came down his side of the pitch.
The Brazilian was sloppy in possession more than once, failed to get a grip on Salah raiding down the wing and certainly didn't extend himself in the slightest to get back into position in defence, trusting instead that others would do his job for him.
Sergio Ramos as the centre-back on that side didn't exactly cover himself in glory either, but it's a harder job to do when your full-back is out of the defensive line and not working back.
Winner: Cristiano Ronaldo
In the end, the game was won by one man's ability to find end product in the box—Cristiano Ronaldo.
Having seen a couple of earlier chances go amiss, Ronaldo made no mistake from close range after a low cross from the right, before setting away James for the second moments later.
Ronaldo is inevitably the man who makes the difference for Real, if not for his ability to find the back of the net then for his movement and pace and capacity to stretch defences and create space for team-mates to exploit, and so it was again in this game—and through go Real to the last eight as a result.