The speculation over whether or not Real Madrid are capable of retaining their Champions League title again has been ongoing for months now, dating back to their incredibly poor start to the season. It seemed as if they were falling apart to the point where they couldn’t turn things back around, and that’s no exaggeration. Alas, in the present day it certainly seems like things are turning around, with the latest step in Real’s revival coming earlier tonight as they defeated Italian side Roma 2-0.
No heroics today
Roma have produced their fair share of heroics in the Champions League in the past, especially against sides from Spain as we saw in their two legged affair against Barcelona, but this wasn’t going to be one of those nights for them. They definitely came forward with a lot of intent with 17 shots to Madrid’s 12, although the visitors won the possession war 59%-41%.
Heading into the game both teams were locked on the same amount of points with it being clear that one would blink, but throughout the course of the first 45 minutes, it wasn’t clear as to who. It’s fair to say that this is one of the more ‘open’ campaigns in the Champions League in comparison to years gone by, and that unpredictability led many to believe that Roma could do the unthinkable yet again.
Opening the door
Alas, a defensive error early on in the second half opened the door for Gareth Bale to give Real the lead against the run of play, proving that the best of the best will always be capable of punishing you if you don’t cover all bases. Lucas Vazquez tapped home from close range after a simple yet efficient move, ensuring that Real would head back to Madrid with all three points.
Roma will now turn their attention back towards domestic football as they host Inter Milan this weekend, whereas Real Madrid will face Valencia at the Bernabeu.
Roma: Olsen (6.5), Florenzi (6.5), Manolas (6.5), Fazio (5.5), Kolarov (6), Cristante (6.5), Nzonzi (6), Under (6.5), Zaniolo (6), El Shaarawy (6), Schick (6)
Real Madrid: Courtois (6), Carvajal (6.5), Varane (6), Ramos (6), Marcelo (6.5), Modric (6), Llorente (6), Kroos (6.5), Vazquez (7), Benzema (6), Bale (7)
Referee: Clément Turpin
Goals: Bale, Vazquez
Yellow Cards: Zaniolo, Varane, Modric
Red Cards: N/A
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