Thanks to goals from Isco, Gareth Bale and Mariano Diaz, Real Madrid delivered a strong, convincing, entertaining performance against Roma at the Santiago Bernabeu.

By Luis Miguel Echegaray
September 19, 2018

Los Blancos gifted their fans a good show at the Bernabeu as Real Madrid started its new campaign in the Champions League with a solid 3-0 victory against Roma.

Goals from Gareth Bale, Mariano and a stunning free-kick from Isco secured three points to start the Champions League campaign, calming anyone's anxious thoughts on how the team would look without Cristiano Ronaldo (who was sent off for Juventus against Valencia) or Zinedine Zidane's management.

The match started in rapid pace as Real Madrid was given a wonderful chance to go ahead. Gareth Bale had a golden opportunity to make it 1-0 in less than three minutes but the Welsh star could only put it wide.

Once again, the hosts were at it again as Isco was fed a great ball from Luka Modric but the keeper did well to keep it 0-0. The threats kept coming as Bale was once again fed on the right wing but the ball was just too far for him to capitalize. It was clear Roma was holding on and looking to counter, but the first minutes showed that Real Madrid was looking to score.

Once it hit the half-hour mark, Roma was feeling more confident and pushing the ball into the final third. But there was very little disrupting Keylor Navas's goal at the beginning. Meanwhile on the other side, there was some heroic goalkeeping from Robin Olsen as he kept it 0-0 for Roma, thanks to save after save. 

But just before the break, Isco scored a wonderful free-kick, leaving Olsen stranded. Los Blancos deservedly led 1-0 at the break.

Roma kicked off the second half more aggressively and it took a grat save from Keylor Navas to deny the Italian sides's equalizer.

Almost immediately, the hosts made it 2-0 but Bale could only put his shot from inside the box above the bar. Moments later he hit the crossbar with another attempt and it seemed as if it wasn't the forward's day in fronf of goal. But, minutes after, Bale picked up a fantastic ball from Luka Modric as he made his typical left-wing run, and completed it with a tidy finish. 

Once the second goal was scored, Lopetegui's men felt more at ease and Roma's tired legs gave way for more opportunities. Marco Asensio nearly scored a wonderful goal, where losing two men in the box with a delicious turn forced a save from Olsen. It could have been the goal of the week.  

Roma, however, was not done, looking to get something out of the game as Keylor Navas was called on to make some crucial stops in the final five minutes. But Mariano Diaz, on his return to Real Madrid and wearing the No. 7 shirt, sealed the deal with a great finish.

In the end, it was a fantastic UCL opener for the current champions as the team delivered a comfortable 3-0 against a Roma side who might have to rely on home form to gain points in the tournament. 

Here were the lineups for both sides

Real Madrid starting XI:

Roma starting XI:

Real Madrid faces CSKA Moscow in two weeks, while Roma hosts Viktoria Plzen. 

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