UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
- Liverpool hammers Porto 5-0 to set sight on q’finals
A Cristiano Ronaldo brace helped Real Madrid come from behind to boost their hopes of once again retaining the Champions League during a pulsating last-16 3-1 victory over Paris St-Germain at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu last night.
The Portuguese forward scored a late close-range strike after his penalty had cancelled out Adrien Rabiot’s opener at the end of a thrilling first half.
Brazilian left-back Marcelo wrapped up the victory minutes after Ronaldo’s tap-in with a goal created by Marco Asensio.
The emphatic spot-kick meant Ronaldo became the first player in Champions League history to score 100 goals for the same club
Last season, Zinedine Zidane’s Real became the first team to retain the Champions League and won La Liga for the first time since 2012.
This term they are already out of the Copa del Rey and fourth in La Liga, 17 points behind leaders Barcelona as pressure on their French manager has mounted.
PSG played their part in an end-to-end contest, with Neymar’s delicate assist for Rabiot a highlight and Kylian Mbappe forcing a strong save from Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
But the result puts Real in control heading into the second leg at Parc des Princes on March 6.
However, Zidane’s side also survived a second-half penalty claim with the scores level when Rabiot’s shot hit Sergio Ramos high on the arm.
Elsewhere on the night, Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick as Liverpool marked their first Champions League knockout game for nine years with an emphatic victory at Porto.
Mane opened the scoring when home goalkeeper Jose Sa failed to hold his placed strike.
Mohamed Salah then showed wonderful composure to steer the ball home for Liverpool’s second and his 30th of an incredible debut season at the club.
With two away goals scored, the visitors could have been forgiven for taking a more conservative approach from then on but instead they went for more.
A swift Liverpool counter-attack ended with Sa spilling Roberto Firmino’s shot into Mane’s path and the striker made no mistake, before Firmino scored his 21st of the season, sweeping home James Milner’s cross.
Mane got his third with a driven strike late on to become only the second Liverpool player to score a hat-trick away from home in Europe since Michael Owen in 2002.