Real Madrid welcomed AS Roma to the Santiago Bernabéu today for their Champions League season opener and it wasn’t a disappointment. The defending champions treated the home fans to an exhibition that could have and probably should have ended in more goals for Los Blancos.
The team got the party going in the 6th minute when Kroos found Bale with an exquisite ball over the top. However, the Welsh man couldn’t quite get his shot target. Minutes later, Modric would slip a delightful ball through the middle for Isco, who saw his shot saved from close range by Olsen. After a number of missed chances and top saves from Roma’s new number one, it was Isco who broke the deadlock at the stroke of halftime with a beautiful freekick from just outside the area; clipping it just over the wall and into the corner. Olsen had no chance.
In the second half, Los Blancos picked up where they left off in the first—a menace to Roma’s defence and their new shot-stopper. In the 58th minute, after Roma lost the ball from a poor corner, Modric weighted a lovely pass into the path of the onrushing Bale, who whipped his shot across goal to find the bottom corner of the net.
The second half also saw the introduction of Asensio and Mariano and the two looked absolutely brilliant. Asensio had a few chances and showed some incredible skills to confound Roma’s defence but was unable to find his goal. Mariano, however, getting his first minutes since his return, managed a sublime finish in the 90th minute. The #7 completely turned a Roma defender before curling his shot into the top corner from just about 20 yards out, putting the cherry on top of an amazing performance from the defending champs.
It’s still early days but Real Madrid looks like a good team without Ronaldo. Since his departure, many had been sceptical of what the team would look like and how they would cope without him. So far, they’ve proven they are not less but more dangerous without him.
Lopetegui’s fingerprints are all over this side and his players are adapting nicely to his style.
It was the first big test of the season for LOs Blancos and they passed with flying colours.