#UCL: Real, Wolfsburg go up in 1st leg

Real Madrid beat Roma 2-0 while VfL Wolfsburg beat Gent 3-2.

Real Madrids Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with his teammates and his head coach Zinedine Zidane after scoring the 0-1 goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg soccer match between AS Roma and Real Madrid CF at the Olimpico stadium in Rome, Italy, 17 February 2016. EPA/ETTORE FERRARI

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 on Wednesday.

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.

Two minutes earlier, Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas came out sharply to save at the feet of Stephan El Shaarawy after one of Roma's fast and dangerous counter-attacks.

Ronaldo might have had a second goal a quarter of an hour from the end but his header at the far post was just wide from James Rodriguez's superb cross.

Karim Benzema then saw his goalbound shot from another James cross hit Lucas Digne in the head.

At the other end, Roma substitute Edin Dzeko hit the side-netting with a header and Real were relieved when the home side were not awarded a penalty after a tackle by Dani Carvajal on Florenzi.

"It was our best performance of the season this evening against a top team," Florenzi told Mediaset.

"We're bitter because we played really well and to see this score is not pleasing."

Real did not have a single shot on target in the first half, but twice had Raphael Varane to thank for coming to their rescue, as the centre back superbly intercepted a ball from Mohamed Salah to Diego Perotti, before blocking a shot by El Shaarawy.

Zidane remains unbeaten since he took over from the sacked Rafa Benitez early last month and the coach was given enthusiastic backing from Real defender Sergio Ramos.

"We're all on the same wavelength as Zinedine Zidane, we're very happy with him," Ramos said.


Julian Draxler scored twice as VfL Wolfsburg took a big step towards reaching the quarterfinals of the Champions League with a 3-2 victory over Gent.

Draxler, who joined from Schalke 04 at the start of the season, struck in the 44th minute after a classy dribble took him past midfielder Thomas Foket before he exchanged passes with Vierinha and tucked the ball beyond keeper Matz Sels.

Gent began the second half much improved, pushing for an equaliser, but Draxler netted again in the 54th minute as he capitalised on one of many errant passes by the home defence.

Max Kruse made it 3-0 with a close-range volley and came close to adding a fourth goal when his shot rebounded off the post.

Sven Kums sparked a late rally by Gent after capping a fine run in the 80th minute by delivering a right-foot drive that beat Koen Casteels at the far post.

Substitute Kalifa Coulibaly then gave Gent hope for next month's second leg when he converted a left-wing cross with a stooping near-post header in the 89th minute.

"We lost the plot and shifted back a gear at the end," Draxler told German state broadcaster ZDF.

"We messed up what would have been an even better result so we have mixed feelings. Still ... we have everything in our own hands."