Wednesday morning’s Champions League brought us eight goals in two games. Thursday morning has delivered nine!
As Liverpool put on counter attacking clinic in Porto, hitting five goals to put them all but an incredible collapse away from a final eight birth, Cristiano Ronaldo was the late hero for Real Madrid in a 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain.
The main event was undoubtedly Real v PSG at the Santiago Bernabeu and it did not disappoint with Ronaldo scoring an historic 100th UCL goal before striking again minutes from time to put the two time defending champions into the lead.
Champions League: Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first man to score 100 goals for one club in the UEFA Champions League.
CR7 sets UCL goals record
UCL FULL TIME SCORES:
— Real Madrid 3-1 PSG
— FC Porto 0-5 Liverpool
Ronaldo’s goal came just before the half time break from the penalty spot to level the match before he scored from close range with his knee as Marcelo added a third a minute later.
Earlier, Adrien Rabiot had opened the scoring to give PSG what could prove to be a vital away goal.
Champions League: Cristiano Ronaldo bags a double to see Real Madrid down PSG 3-1 on home turf in the first leg of the Champions League meeting
Cristiano Ronaldo inspires Real Madrid comeback
Meanwhile, Liverpool have now well and truly put themselves in the discussion for UCL dark horses, thumping FOUR past FC Porto on the road in a counter attacking clinic.
Sadio Mane opened the scoring with a shot that left goalkeeper Jose Sa red-faced before Mohamed Salah pulled out the tricks to make it 2-0 after a rebounded James Milner shot.
Then, Jurgen Klopp’s men hit turbo mode – putting two more past their Portuguese opponents in a second half counter attacking clinic, with Mane adding a second and Roberto Firmino making it four.
Champions League: Liverpool have scored two goals in quick succession to leave FC Porto reeling in the round of 16.
Reds bust FC Porto wide open
HERE’S OUR WRAP OF THE MORNING’S UCL DRAMA…!
REAL MADRID 3-1 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid came from behind to stun Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 in the first leg of their heavyweight Champions League last-16 tie.
Ronaldo scored his 100th Champions League goal for title-holders Real from the penalty spot late in the first half to cancel out Adrien Rabiot’s opener for the French side at the Santiago Bernabeu, set up by Neymar.
Champions League: PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola has been falconed by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Keeper falconed by CR7
The Portuguese star then turned the ball home from close range with seven minutes left before Marcelo secured what could turn out to be a decisive first-leg lead ahead of the return in Paris on March 6 and sent nearly 80,000 home fans into raptures.
The late collapse for PSG brings back echoes of the way they fell apart to lose 6-1 in Barcelona on their way to a humiliating exit at the same stage of the competition last season.
Neymar, in Barcelona’s ranks then, could not make the difference for PSG, who now have a huge job on their hands to turn the tie around.
7 – Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 10+ goals in seven consecutive Champions League campaigns, while no other player has done so in more than two. Heaven. pic.twitter.com/402CYUCRq2
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 14, 2018
Having looked set to come away with a precious draw, the defeat piles the pressure on coach Unai Emery, but for Real the outcome is an enormous boost for their boss Zinedine Zidane.
Under pressure himself with Real flagging domestically, he needed this win, and will earn praise for his substitutions, with Marco Asensio coming off the bench to set up each of the two late goals.
Real supporters chose an image of a famous fan in Rafael Nadal to adorn a display unfurled at the south end of the ground as the sides came out, hoping their team could draw inspiration from someone who has conquered Paris 10 times as French Open champion.
The hosts started well too, while Neymar struggled, slipping when one pass was aimed towards him, complaining as a Luka Modric challenge sent him to the floor and picking up a yellow card for a foul on Nacho.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, saw Alphonse Areola make a fine save from his net-bound shot after he had been released by Marcelo, and not long after that, in the 33rd minute, PSG scored.
Neymar could claim an assist, although it didn’t look like the Brazilian meant to help Kylian Mbappe’s low ball across the box from the right into the path of Rabiot, who swept home unmarked.
PSG had a precious away goal, but they could not hold their lead until the break as Giovani Lo Celso gave away a penalty for a foul on Toni Kroos.
Emery then surprisingly took off Edinson Cavani and replaced him with Thomas Meunier, a right-back. But it was Zidane’s decision to send on Asensio that proved crucial.
In the space of three late minutes, Asensio saw one cross palmed out by Areola and then rebound into the net off Ronaldo’s thigh, before another assist was finished off by Marcelo, potentially finishing the tie in the process.
FC PORTO 0-5 LIVERPOOL
Sadio Mane scored a brilliant treble as Liverpool romped to a 5-0 thrashing of Porto at the Estadio do Dragao to march towards the Champions League quarter-finals.
Mane fired the away side ahead in the first leg of the last-16 clash, before Mohamed Salah’s audacious finish quickly made it two.
The Senegalese forward slotted in his second as Liverpool completely outclassed their opponents, with Roberto Firmino adding his name to the scoresheet with 20 minutes to play, before Mane’s searing strike completed his first European hat-trick.
Champions League: Liverpool have scored three goals in the second half against FC Porto on the counter attack, showcasing how clinical the big three of Sadio Mane, Mo Sala and Roberto Firmino can be.
Reds dominate on the counter
Playing in the last 16 of the competition for the first time in nine years, Liverpool are now all but certain to reach the quarter-finals ahead of the second leg at Anfield on March 6.
Jurgen Klopp’s men had scored 23 goals in the group stage and continued that scintillating form in Portugal, while the defensive frailties that have plagued them at times this season never resurfaced as Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk put in accomplished displays at the back.
Sergio Conceicao’s deflated Porto will now turn their attentions back to domestic matters, where they hold a two-point lead in the league and are in the Cup semi-finals.
Roared on by the home fans, Porto started brightly and Brazilian midfielder Otavio was denied an early goal by a last-ditch tackle from Lovren.
But it didn’t take Liverpool long to grow into the game, as left-back Andrew Robertson fired over on his Champions League debut and Ivan Marcano’s brave block prevented Firmino from heading in.
But the five-time European champions were gifted the lead in the 25th minute as Porto goalkeeper Jose Sa, who has replaced former Real Madrid great Iker Casillas this season, allowed Mane’s tame strike to squirm underneath his body and into the net.
Liverpool took total control of the tie just four minutes later as Salah scored his 30th goal of the season in style.
James Milner’s strike crashed into the post, but the Egyptian star was on hand to flick the ball over the onrushing Sa with a magnificent piece of skill and slot into the net.
The visitors were utterly dominant, but Tiquinho Soares, playing in place of the injured Vincent Aboubakar, fired narrowly wide for Porto on the stroke of half-time.
Porto had plenty of the ball but were always vulnerable to Liverpool’s waves of rapid counter-attacks, and Mane made it three shortly after the restart.
The away side cut the Portuguese league leaders to shreds with a series of first-time flicks and passes, and after Firmino was denied by Sa, Mane was on hand to tap in the rebound.
The visitors’ relentless pressure meant another goal was almost inevitable, and it arrived when Milner picked out Firmino from a posse of unmarked Liverpool shirts in the centre to slot home.
The English outfit still weren’t finished, though, as Mane’s long-range effort flew past Sa with five minutes remaining to round off the procession in fine fashion.
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Originally published as Real late blitz to bury PSG as Reds hit FIVE in UCL