Roma 0-2 Real Madrid: Gareth Bale helps Spanish giants bounce back from embarrassment at Eibar by sealing top spot in Champions League Group G
- Real Madrid sealed top spot in Champions League Group G by beating Roma at the Stadio Olimpico
- Welsh forward Gareth Bale and Spain international Lucas Vazquez scored for European champions Real
- Result could have been very different had Cengiz Under not missed a golden chance during the first half
- Despite losing, Roma will still progress to the knockout round regardless of the result in their next match
Gareth Bale made sure Real Madrid will finish top of Group G with a goal and an assist in a 2-0 win over Roma.
Madrid should have trailed late in the first half but Roma’s Cengiz Under was guilty of one of the worst misses in Champions League history.
Roma defender Federico Fazio then gifted Bale the chance to get the first after the restart and when Lucas Vazquez got the second their Italian job was done with time to spare.
Real Madrid sealed top spot in Champions League Group G on Tuesday night by beating Roma at the Stadio Olimpico
Welsh forward Gareth Bale (rear) and Spain international Lucas Vazquez scored for defending European champions Real
The result could have been very different had Cengiz Under not missed a golden chance for Roma during the first half
Antonio Conte was in the crowd at the Stadio Olimpico to watch the game and both Madrid and Roma looked like teams that could do with his services in an awful first half.
Madrid had an early let-off when Lucas handled on the edge of the area but despite Alexsandar Kolarov’s protests the referee waved play on.
Santiago Solari’s team misplaced passes going forward and were almost caught out on the break but Dani Carvajal raced back to get in front of Stephan El Shaarawy and head clear.
Bale then crossed for Lucas and he played in Modric whose shot was deflected off Karim Benzema before Robin Olsen blocked it.
Typical of Madrid’s first half was Marcelo misplacing a pass to Bale and then charging forward to try to make amends for his error. He was second to the ball and Roma had a clear run in behind him. Sergio Ramos cut across and put the ball out for a corner but there flowed two or three minutes of frantic pressure all from Marcelo’s error. Thibaut Courtois blocked the resulting shot and Kolarov’s shaved the post with the rebound.
On 45 minutes came Under’s horror moment. Carvajal gave the ball way on his own byline and when Justin Kluivert crossed Under was alone with the goal at his mercy. It was a case of up and Under as he skied the chance and it summed up the first 45 minutes.
Under sent the ball over when presented with a fine opportunity to put Roma in front on the stroke of half-time on Tuesday
Roma winger Under looked dejected as he held his head in his hands after squandering a huge chance for the hosts
If Olsen had declined Carvajal’s gift in the first half Bale would not turn down Fazio’s after the restart. He chased down the keeper and when he hurried his clearance Fazio inexplicably headed the ball straight to Bale. The chance was not easy but he wrapped his left foot around it and, despite Kostas Manolas’ best attempts to block, Bale found the back of the net.
Roma perked up after conceding and Courtois saved well from Kluivert but they were now exposed on the counter-attack and Bale raced clear. He tried to chip Olsen but on the sub-standard surface – on which the All Blacks beat Italy at the weekend – he lifted turf as he struck the ball.
The second goal soon followed and Bale was involved again. His curling cross was headed down by Benzema and Lucas scored from close range, generously played onside by Alessandro Florenzi.
Bale trotted off with six minutes left applauding the away following. Back in Madrid he has endured more criticism after Saturday’s 3-0 league defeat at Eibar. He remains the man who delivers in Europe and Madrid remain on top in the Champions League for all their domestic problems in La Liga.
Bale punished Roma’s wastefulness to give Real a 1-0 lead shortly after play had restarted following the half-time interval
Real’s No 11 showed impressive composure to slot a low left-footed shot past Robin Olsen who had made a poor clearance
Lucas found the net with a simple finish from close range to wrap up a morale-boosting victory for Real after 59 minutes