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Madrid follow the script in Rome

SPORTYOU SPORTYOU 18/02/2016 sportyou
Directo. Roma - Real Madrid © Getty Images Directo. Roma - Real Madrid

Real Madrid followed the script and take home a two-goal advantage from their tie against Roma in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16, paving the way to a place in the Quarter-finals. It was a game of two halves, with a happy ending for the Blancos, who could have left with an even bigger advantage. Roma were no more than a sparring partner, one that was somewhat more comfortable than was expected.

Champions League games are another story entirely. There is a lot more fear involved than one would think. You might say that there are players whose legs quiver in fear going into these games. Real Madrid, for all their ten European Cups, are no exception. That would be the only way to explain what happened to them in the first 45 minutes in Rome.

Supposedly there is a huge difference in level between these two teams, one that would allow the favourites to be a lot happier on the ball. It is not at all normal to see them running around after the ball when the Champions League theme tune leads one to expect exactly the opposite. As it is also not customary for the half-time whistle to blow with Madrid not having put the opposing goalkeeper to the test.

Madrid had possession because Roma let them, but they were unable to create a single goal-scoring chance. One angled shot from Marcelo was all they were able to muster in the first half. On the other hand, they had few problems at the back, apart from the odd skirmish that the nippy Salah managed to cause, or those of Perotti, the opponent who was most determined to give the visitors' defence problems.

And, as always, a goal always changes the scenario. That happened and it was Madrid who managed it. A good move involving Marcelo and Cristiano and the resulting shot from the forward, luckily deflected in off a defender, gave the visitors the lead. From then on it was a different game.

Madrid then changed into something else. They unshackled themselves and started to play as best they know. More and more chances were created until Jesé, who came on as a late substitute, put the game to bed, possibly the tie as well. It is also true that Roma, who had been somewhat innocent in their attacking play, should have had a penalty that the referee failed to see.

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