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Real in the quarters

Thursday, March 08, 2018

PARIS - Holders Real Madrid cruised into the Champions League quarter-finals with Cristiano Ronaldo's second-half goal helping them to a 2-1 victory at Paris St Germain yesterday as the 12-time European champions went through 5-2 on aggregate.

Ronaldo headed home seven minutes into the second half and Casemiro added a second 10 minutes from time against a toothless PSG, who were without their injured talisman Neymar and had Marco Verratti sent off for a second booking in the 66th minute.

Ronaldo scored for the ninth Champions League game in a row, matching Ruud van Nistelrooy's record in the competition, before PSG striker Edinson Cavani equalised with 19 minutes left, only for Casemiro to give Real victory at the Parc des Princes.

Zinedine Zidane's side, who are 15 points adrift of arch-rivals Barcelona in La Liga but aiming for their third straight Champions League crown, were solid throughout as the home side rarely threatened and fully deserved their win.

With Toni Kroos and Luka Modric starting on the bench after returning from injury, Real struggled to control the midfield but PSG did not threaten in a dull start to the game.

Real had a great opportunity in the 20th minute, but PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola pulled off a superb save as he parried Sergio Ramos's effort from close range. The visitors had another chance in the 38th when Karim Benzema's shot was saved by Areola.

PSG had their first big chance on the stroke of halftime as Kylian Mbappe burst down the right flank, only for his low shot to be blocked by Real keeper Keylor Navas.

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