during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between AS Roma and Real Madrid CF at Stadio Olimpico on February 17, 2016 in Rome, Italy.

Champions League: Real Madrid punish Roma, as Wolfsburg survive Gent comeback

Real Madrid 2, Roma 0

What started out as a boring first half in the Champions League with no shots on target for either team quickly turned into an exciting and open second half thanks to Christiano Ronaldo’s first away goal in months. Jese added another goal later in the second half as Roma were forced to push men forward to try to equalize.

The first half was mostly devoid of highlights, Marcelo had an ambitious effort that went wide of the mark, and Roma was able to launch a few counters. However, most of those counters resulted in corners that resulted in almost nothing. The second half was much more interesting and a lot of that had to do with Ronaldo’s early goal.

Ronaldo, a day after storming out of a press conference, gave the visitors a crucial away goal after making a great run and cut inside with a great piece of skill. The finish was just as good as Ronaldo found the top corner. Wojciech Szczęsny had little chance to make the save. Roma decided to throw caution to the wind, as they pushed for an equalizer. Going to Madrid for the second leg down a goal was something they knew they couldn’t do. The hosts had chances to scores, but nothing ended up going in. Edin Dzeko hit the side netting from about five yards, and Mohamed Salah was let down by his first touch after receiving the ball in a prime scoring area. There were also shouts for a penalty, but the referee waved play on, much to the disappointment of the fans at the Stadio Olimpico.

While Roma couldn’t take their chances, Madrid managed to get a second away goal, putting Roma on the brink of elimination. Jese, playing on the counter, put the ball passed the outstretched hand of Szczęsny. That made it 2-0 and Madrid held on to the clean sheet as Roma did very little as the match came to a close. The two teams meet again in three weeks in Madrid.

Wolfsburg 3, Gent 2

Wolfsburg came into the round of 16 heavy favorites over the Belgian club Gent, and for most of the match, it looked like they were going to cruise through the tie. But Gent turned the game around late making it a five-goal thriller.

Like today’s other round of 16 match, the game started out slowly, but Wolfsburg was the stronger team throughout the first half. Shortly before half-time, Julian Draxler turned his sides dominance into a goal. Draxler played a lovely give and go with teammate Vieirinha, and finished with a side-footed shot.

The second half kicked off with more of the same from the visitors. Draxler scored his second of the day by chipping the keeper. Not long after that, Max Kruse put the Wolves up 3-0, and it looked as if Wolfsburg were on their way to an easy advancement to the quarterfinals.

It wasn’t going to be as easy as it looked at first because after taking a 3-0 lead, Gent started to take control of the match. The underdogs scored shortly after going down 3-0. Captain Sven Kums scored with a right-footed shot that snuck past Diego Benaglio. At first, it seemed like the goal was little more than a consolation, but soon after Kalifa Coulibaly cut the deficit to only one goal. Coulibaly got the better of Dante as he raced to the near post to head home a cross.

Wolfsburg is still favorites heading into the second leg in three weeks, but the game turned out closer than it should have been. Wolfsburg has to be confident that they will get the job done at home, but they gave Gent confidence, and the Belgians must feel they can overcome the favorites with a quality performance back in Germany.

Harrison Prolic

About Harrison Prolic

Northern Illinois graduate with a degree in Journalism. Full-time page designer in Madison, Wisconsin. Part time follower of all things German soccer. I tweet about the Bundesliga and plenty of other sports @hprolic.

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