MADRID, Spain, Sporting Alert – Champions League football resumes on Tuesday with two round of 16-second leg games, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid hoping to progress.
MATCHES: 8 March 2016
Wolfsburg v Gent at 2:45 p.m. ET
Real Madrid v Roma at 2:45 p.m. ET
At the Santiago Bernabeu, Ronaldo will lead Real Madrid against Roma, while Wolfsburg take a 3-2 lead in their clash with Ghent at Volkswagen Arena.
Both teams are looking to book quarter-final places.
Real Madrid won the first leg of the tie with Roma 2-0 on the road and are expected to take care of business at home.
The Spanish giants warmed up for this matchup with a dominating 7-1 victory over Celta Vigo in the league at the weekend with Ronaldo bagging four goals.
Nevertheless, Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane has warned his team against looking too far ahead in the competition — urging his players to be mindful of the visitors.
“Of course we are excited about the possibility of winning this competition but we should only be thinking about this difficult match ahead,” Zidane said at his press conference.
“Roma are a good team but I’m more worried about what we are going to do. Their forwards are very good. If you don’t do your job properly, you can be eliminated.”
Zidane has dismissed suggestions that Roma are already done and dusted from this year’s Champions League competition, given that Real Madrid have the healthy two away goal.
“For me, the most important match is always the next one. As a coach, you want to be involved in games like this. You can’t explain with words what you feel,” the Frenchman said.
“We have to defend when we don’t have the ball and try to hurt our opponents when we do have it. It’s not true that Roma have no chance.”
Roma also head into this contest on good form, following the 4-1 victory over Fiorentina, with Mohamed Salah scoring twice and Stephan El Shaarawy also among the scorers.
This second leg clash will be a difficult one for the Italian Serie A side, but manager Luciano Spalletti thinks that if his team can score early, it would make the tie a little more interesting.
“I’m asking my team to do the impossible. The way they are training allows me to ask that,” said Spalletti. “We have to score early then we’ll see what happens; it could change the balance of the tie.
“We mustn’t be weak mentally and play to lose. If anyone thinks like that with me, they won’t even train.
“We must be able to choose when to attack or hold off. We must be confident when taking the initiative. The result in the first leg was harsh seeing how we performed.
“We were unlucky. We’ve been improving game by game and this team has enormous potential.”
Roma is without defender Antonio Rudiger, who did not travel with the team to the Bernabeu after suffering a thigh injury.
However, Alessandro Florenzi has returned to fitness and is expected to keep his eyes on Ronaldo.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid will be without Sergio Ramos, who is suspended while forward Karim Benzema is still recovering from a hamstring injury and will not feature on Tuesday.
Ronaldo and Jese were the two goalscorers for Real Madrid in the first leg.