Real Madrid marches into Champions League quarterfinals

AP

Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez scored second-half goals to help Real Madrid defeat Roma 2-0 and advance to the Champions League quarterfinals for the sixth consecutive season on Tuesday.

Ronaldo scored his 13th goal in the competition this season by turning home a cross by substitute forward Lucas Vazquez in the 64th, and Rodriguez added to the lead four minutes later with a low shot from inside the area to give Madrid a 4-0 aggregate victory.

“It was a difficult game, but in the end we got our objective which was to go through,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “Over the 90 minutes, many things could have happened, because we were up against a team with good players, but we got the job done.”

In the other game on Tuesday, Wolfsburg reached the last eight for the first time with a 1-0 win at home over Belgian champion Gent.

Roma, which lost 2-0 in Rome in the first leg, had a few clear chances before Madrid scored but could not capitalize on them, failing in its attempt to reach the quarters for the first time in eight years.

Forward Mohamed Salah had two incredible opportunities that could have changed the match if they had gone in. Striker Edin Dzeko was also in a good position to open the scoring but squandered his chance.

“You can think that if we had scored first, the game would have been different,” Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said. “But the reality is that we lost 2-0 twice. It’s only right that Real Madrid will go through. We’ve got to improve in terms of our mentality and how decisive we are. We weren’t at the level we had to be tonight.”

Despite allowing chances on counterattacks, Madrid controlled the game at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, where it has yet to concede a goal in four Champions League matches this season. Madrid and Barcelona are the only unbeaten teams in this season’s competition.

Roma came to Madrid after winning its last three games by two or more goals, which was what it needed to stay alive on Tuesday.

“We didn’t play badly in either leg, but we didn’t take advantage of the chances we created,” Spalletti said.

Arsenal advances

AP

Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott both scored twice as F.A. Cup holder Arsenal eliminated Hull on Tuesday, beating the second-tier side 4-0 to reach the quarterfinals in its the second attempt.

With its victory over Hull in the fifth-round replay, Arsenal’s quest for a third successive F.A. Cup title continues on Sunday with a home match against Watford.

Although Arsenal ended a five-match winless run, center backs Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista, and midfielder Aaron Ramsey limped off.

Mertesacker was concussed in a clash of heads with Hull midfielder Nick Powell in the first half. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he was concerned about Ramsey’s thigh injury but believes Gabriel will be fine.

The cup once again appears to be Arsenal’s most realistic shot at silverware, having fallen eight points behind surprise Premier League leader Leicester and trailing Barcelona 2-0 in the Champions League round of 16.

Giroud’s first goals since January 13 were the key to this victory and came a day after his partner gave birth to a boy.

The 29-year-old Giroud steered home a wayward pass from David Meyler four minutes before half time. Meyler had directed the ball back to Eldin Jakupovic and Giroud capitalized by rolling a right-footed shot past Hull’s goalkeeper.

Midway through the second half, the France striker fired home a cross from Walcott, who added gloss to the scoreline by turning a shot coolly into the net six minutes later and sending a deflected near-post strike past Jakupovic later in the match.