Doubts and injuries. That’s what has been at the center of Santiago Bernabéu in 2017-18. Real Madrid has been pale the entire season and has not managed to register themselves as the defending champions of the home league. But it seems when it comes to the Champions League, they are a whole different team. As the Cristiano Ronaldo led side clashed against the most hyped team of the season - PSG, little did anyone think that Madrid will pull off a decisive victory.
Late goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo earned Real Madrid a 3-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Round of 16 Champions League tie on Wednesday night at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.
Adrien Rabiot gave the Parisians a first-half lead, but Ronaldo equalised right before half-time with a penalty shoot. Although PSG had the ball for most of the second-half, manager Zinedine Zidane's second-half substitutions, especially Marco Asensio, proved decisive and pave the way for a Real triumph. The fresh legs off the bench gave Real a boost, and a poor clearance from PSG led the way to Ronaldo's winner.
It did not take long till the ball landed again on Ronaldo’s shoes who closed the deal scoring his second of the day. The scoreboard turned 3-1 just three minutes later. Marcelo did the honors, turning in a fantastic clutch finish from inside the box after another cross from Asensio to give Real Madrid a larger margin for error and PSG plenty to think about as the scene shifts to Paris next month.
“The club has 12 Champions Leagues and there is a reason for that – the players know what is on the line,” said Zidane at the post-match press conference. As for PSG manager Unai Emery, he claims that referee Gianluca Rocchi favoured Madrid. “The score-line does not reflect what was seen on the pitch,” he added.
The two teams are scheduled to play on March 7 at Paris for the second leg of the UCL. To move forward, PSG has to register a win with at least two goal difference.