Ronaldo in top form

ROME – Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 12th Champions League goal of the season with a superb strike into the top corner as Real Madrid took a firm grip on their last-16 tie against AS Roma with a 2-0 first leg win yesterday.

The record 10 times European champions took the game to Roma, but were frustrated in the first half as the hosts kept men behind the ball, while looking to catch Real out on the break.

Ronaldo, however, ended their resistance just before the hour mark.

He audaciously controlled a fine pass from Marcelo on the left edge of the box, before unleashing a powerful, curling shot that deflected off Alessandro Florenzi and looped over keeper Wojciech Szczesny into the net.

The emphatic finish sparked a joyous celebration from the Portuguese who raced across to embrace coach Zinedine Zidane.

“It was a great match by him and the rest (of the team),” Zidane told beIN Sports.

“I’m happy (about the celebration) but above all because he scored,” added the Frenchman, who was a Champions League winner with Real as a player in 2002 but was making his competition debut as coach.

“It’s been a very special day, we played well but it was a difficult match because they (Roma) played well.”

Substitute Jese added the Spanish team’s second four minutes from fulltime with a solo run into the box and shot across the face of goal that flew inside the far post.

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