Bale and Vazquez strikes enough to see Real Madrid beat AS Roma
Despite being rattled in the first half, an early Bale goal in the second half, followed by a Lucas Vázquez tap in saw Madrid top their group.
Roma 0-2 Real Madrid: match report
Real Madrid sealed top spot in Group G of the Champions League thanks to a 0-2 win over a struggling Roma side at the Estadio Olimpico on Tuesday night.
Coming off one of their worst performances this season, Real Madrid needed a response to their miserable Eibar advanture. And they, sort of, got one. Ironically, it was against Roma earlier in the season that saw Lopetegui reach his highest point as the manager of the side with a 4-0 beatdown at the Bernabeu and the Italians proved the perfect antidote to an increasingly worrisome situation at Real Madrid.
Solari, who said he was brought in to make decisions, dropped Isco completely from the squad and started Lucas Vazquez and Marcos Llorente did a straight swap with the injured Casemiro after Ceballos failed to adequately adapt to the deep midfield role against Eibar.
Roma started better and generally played better than their opponents in the first half and had by far the best chance of the opening 45. Carvajal was caught in possession and a cross to Under was sent over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Real Madrid recorded only three shots in the entire half with two of those coming from poor decisions by Modric and Kroos from long range. That was the worst shot tally they have recorded all season in any competition as their attack again stuttered.
But the story of the half was that miss from the Turkish youngster and it would come back to haunt Roma soon after.
The second half was only two minutes old when Robin Olsen cleared a high ball up into the clouds. The ball came back down with snow on it and was headed back towards goal to Bale, who found himself clear through. He turned onto his left and stroked home.
It was a lovely, if not fortunate, finish from the Welsh man and Real Madrid were winning.
The game opened up completely at that point with Roma keen to get a leveller and Real Madrid seeing the chance to counter and right the wrongs of the weekend with a multiple goal effort to soothe nerves and keep up appearances.
Roma came close through Kluivert, who, as a first half substitute for injured El Shaarawy, was their most potent attacker.
But it was Lucas Vazquez who would seal all three points and top spot for Real Madrid when Bale sent one onto Benzema's head. He nodded it down and Vazquez tapped home as Real Madrid shut the front door on Roma, who were running out of ideas even before the second.
Only time will tell if Real Madrid's loss to Eibar was an aberration or a more persistent problem. But they keep on chugging along in Europe with Roma needing a much better showing if they want to progress beyond the last 16 and keep their fans on side, many of whom whistled as the referee blew full time.
Roma vs Real Madrid live online: match updates and commentary
Roma vs Real Madrid live online: preview
Santiago Solari's side have to dust themselves off to play Roma in the Champions League after their embarrassing encounter against Eibar at the weekend. Julen Lopetegui's zenith came against Roma at home earlier in the Champions League when they put four past their Italian opponents and dominated every aspect of play. Roma have recovered, however, and won their last three games in the competition only conceding one goal in those games. They are level on points (9) with the loser in this one being forced into a very uncomfortable position in the last game.
Daniele De Rossi and winger Diego Perrotti are out with Kostas Manolas a doubt but he still could play at the back. Roma are struggling in the league and just lost to Udinese away from home and have just one win in their last five Serie A games with Kolarov having a go at the fans saying they "don't have a clue" Eusebio Di Francesco tore into his players after the game at the weekend and said determination is not something you can buy in the shop. He will be expecting a response tonight as will Solari, whose side are reeling from their own weekend horror show.
Real Madrid are without Nacho, Casemiro and Odriozola and Reguilon with Javi Sanchez the only player to support a back four of Marcelo, Ramos, Varane and Carvajal. Three of those four have suffered injury lay-offs recently and another setback could see Real Madrid struggle at the back. Casemiro's absence on Saturday was felt and while Ceballos did his best, he is not a defensive midfielder in the mould of the Brazilian. Solari has some decisions to make for the game on Wednesday with Marcos Llorente the only real Casemiro-like player in the squad. Solari says "every day at Madrid is a big test" and if he doesn't win this one, he will certainly be testing the nerves of fans and Perez alike.
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