06 Mar Real Madrid reach Champions League quarter-finals at expense of Paris St Germain
Holders Real Madrid eased into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-1 win at 10-man Paris St Germain.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 12th goal in the competition and Casemiro’s late strike ensured Zinedine Zidane’s side progressed 5-2 on aggregate in the French capital on Tuesday evening.
Leading 3-1 from the first leg, Real never looked in danger against the sedate hosts despite Edinson Cavani’s fortunate second-half equaliser.
Zidane’s side put aside their LaLiga blues – they are 15 points behind arch rivals Barcelona – to reach the quarter-finals of the competition they won last June.
Marco Verratti was sent off for PSG in the second half as their hopes of a maiden Champions League title ended.
They are also likely to face UEFA punishment after the game was briefly halted at the start of the second half because of flares from the home fans.
Karim Benzema almost put the tie out of reach early on when he fired over from the edge of the box.
A fine Sergio Ramos volley then brought an excellent one-handed save from Alphonse Areola after 21 minutes after he connected with Marco Asensio’s cross.
PSG were too pedestrian and struggled to break down Real, who comfortably contained the surprisingly subdued hosts.
Benzema wasted Real’s best chance, and the opportunity to end the tie, eight minutes before the break when he broke down the left but was denied by Areola’s leg.
Keylor Navas then grabbed Angel Di Maria’s low effort with Cavani lurking, but PSG failed to create clear chances.
The hosts then went closer just before half-time when Navas turned Kylian Mbappe’s drive behind as PSG finally began to find openings.
The first half, though, failed to live up to the hype and, with PSG hunting two goals to go through, they needed an early strike.
It was Real who ended up opening the scoring after 51 minutes.
Ronaldo had just headed wide but he was not to be denied a second time.
Dani Alves lost the ball to Asensio and his fine ball to Lucas Vazquez allowed the midfielder to cross for Ronaldo to head in at the far post.
It meant the ex-Manchester United star has scored in every Champions League appearance this season.
Things got worse for PSG 14 minutes later when Verratti was dismissed for a second yellow card for dissent.
Asensio hit the post three minutes later as Real threatened a second before the hosts got back on level terms for the night after 71 minutes.
Cavani knew little about it but claimed his 32nd goal of the campaign when the ball bounced around the box and hit the striker before crossing the line.
But Casemiro’s deflected effort 10 minutes later – his shot hit Marquinhos, wrong-footed Areola and looped in from 16 yards – ensured there was no way back for PSG.