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Real Madrid and PSG Take Big First Leg Leads

PSGLogoReal Madrid eased towards a fourth consecutive Champions League semi-final as Cristiano Ronaldo equalled another goalscoring record in their 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund at the Bernabeu.

Looking to avenge their last-four defeat at the hands of the Germans last season, the Spanish giants flew out of the traps and were ahead within three minutes when Gareth Bale poked home from Dani Carvajal’s pass. Isco doubled Real’s lead after 27 minutes as his low shot from the edge of the area curled into the bottom corner. Ronaldo then scored his 14th Champions League goal of the campaign to match the competition’s record mark for goals in a season, set by Barcelona’s Lionel Messi two years ago.

However, Real’s night was soured somewhat as Ronaldo had to be substituted late on due to what appeared to be a minor knee injury. Ronaldo had to be replaced by Brazilian midfielder Casemiro ten minutes from time, but the former Manchester United man was able to walk freely as he made his exit, suggesting he should be fit for Real’s trip to Real Sociedad on Saturday.

Chelsea’s hopes of advancing from the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals hang by a thread after Paris Saint-Germain claimed a 3-1 first-leg win at the Parc des Princes. Eden Hazard’s penalty had given the Blues a potentially vital away goal, but Javier Pastore’s brilliant stoppage-time solo effort, added to an earlier strike from Ezequiel Lavezzi and a David Luiz own-goal, will see PSG take a two-goal advantage into next week’s second leg at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea, the 2012 European champions, were looking to book their place in a seventh semi-final in 11 campaigns, but started without a recognised striker. With Samuel Eto’o injured, Jose Mourinho selected Andre Schurrle as a ‘false nine’, appearing to finally lose patience with Fernando Torres.

PSG, unbeaten in their previous 28 European home games, began with a bang and took a fourth-minute lead when one of the three strikers Mourinho had highlighted could be the difference in the contest struck a fine half-volley. It was Lavezzi – rather than Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Edinson Cavani – who fired into the roof of the net after a poor headed clearance from John Terry.

Chelsea equalised before the interval when Hazard – courted by PSG – converted a penalty after Oscar was fouled by Thiago Silva. Hazard also hit the post before half-time, and PSG were denied a spot-kick when Cavani turmbled under Gary Cahill’s aerial challenge.

Torres replaced Schurrle after 60 minutes, but no sooner had he joined the action than Chelsea were behind again as Lavezzi’s free-kick was swung in menacingly and bundled into the net by David Luiz.

Ibrahimovic, still chasing a first Champions League triumph, departed clutching his right hamstring with more than 20 minutes remaining. However, Pastore ensured the night – and potentially the tie – would end in PSG’s favour, beating Petr Cech at his near post after a mazy run.

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