The Real Madrid won 2-0 on Tuesday at the Olympic Stadium Rome against Roma and sealed the pass as first qualified to the knockout stages of the Champions League with a day in advance.
After being pardoned by Roma in the first half of great difficulty, Madrid got their fifth win in the six games played at the Olympic thanks to the goals in the resumption of Welshman Gareth Bale and Lucas Vázquez, a pass from the French Karim Benzema.
"Madrid when it falls always recovers, this is the most winning in the history of football," recalled the Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari on the eve of the crossing; and his team, still far from its best version and with serious defensive insecurities, knew how to get the three points and achieve their goal.
The Olympic duel began with three surprises: two at the tactical level, with Isco Alarcón ruled out by Solari at Real Madrid and Bosnian Edin Dzeko out due to injury at Roma, and a pleasant one for both teams, since the defeat of CSKA Moscow at home against Viktoria Plzen (1-2) gave them the mathematical pass to eighths.
For Isco, it was the sixth consecutive absence of a Real Madrid starting eleven to which Marcos Llorente returned, who until now had only started from the start in the Copa del Rey against Melilla and who had only played 12 minutes in LaLiga, in September against Espanyol and with Julen Lopetegui on the bench.
The insecurity and the little aggressiveness was seen on Saturday in the 0-3 defeat suffered in Ipurúa was re-registered this Tuesday, at the beginning of the game marked by many defensive errors and a notable difficulty in the phase of the exit of the ball.
Without Casemiro and with the German Toni Kroos and the Croatian Luka Modric constantly pressured by the Romanist media, Real Madrid lost many balls in their half of field and granted great opportunities to a Roma who, nevertheless, paid at an expensive price for their lack of stuck.
The capital team pardoned the whites up to three times in the first half unbeatable: only a great stop of the Belgian goal Thibaut Courtois shot by Czech Patrick Schick (m.34), seconds after Dani Carvajal denied in the small area an Argentine goal Federico Fazio saved the Madridistas.
These were great occasions, but the most clamorous would reach the edge of rest. Carvajal lost a ball in the vicinity of the penalty area, Nicoló Zaniolo centred for the Turkish Cengiz Under and this, only about five meters from the goal, sent the leather high to the incredulity of the fans of the Olympic and also the Real Madrid themselves.
It was an unforgivable mistake for a Roma who would pay dearly for another serious fault, this time defensive, just beginning the restart. The Swedish goalie Robin Olsen took a high and short ball and Fazio, in the attempt to return it to his keeper, offered Bale a comfortable opportunity to overtake Madrid.
The Real Madrid advantage, after the gift of Fazio, shook a Roma that gave the Madrid a huge gap in the backlash against Madrid. And after a mistake in a hand to hand of Bale, the Real Madrid extended distances with a great combination of his trident.
Bale focused and Benzema supported a comfortable ball in the centre of the area with his head so that Vazquez would push him with his right leg between the meshes and put downhill the visit to the Eternal City.
The remorse for the lost chances, together with the disappointing league performance, seized a Roma that tried to attack, but without collecting fruit, and ended up granting great opportunities to counterattack the Solari team.
The match could even end in a landslide in favour of the Madridistas, not to forgive Bale one-on-one with Olsen, by failing with a shy vaseline, and not crashing Marcelo and Benzema against the goalkeeper "giallorosso".
Finally, Real Madrid managed their advantage and defended it until the final whistle to celebrate with a day in advance his round of the European Cup, the environment in which he is more comfortable and in which he forged his legend.
For its part, Roma left the lawn before a hard whistle of his fans, who does not forgive the players a season start lacking in brilliance and personality.