Roma had a very tough road ahead if they were to advance to the quarter final of the Champions League this season (something they have they haven't reached since the 2007/2008 season).
In the first leg, they were beaten at the Olimpico 2-0 so now they had to score at least twice at the Santiago Bernabèu and win by a two-goal margin. Even after the big improvement showed since Luciano Spalleti was appointed as the new coach, it was a very tough task against one of European’s elite teams, especially considering the 6-1 trashing Roma suffered at the hands of the other Spanish giants, Barcelona, back in October.
Roma started the game strongly, with players definitely believing the comeback was possible. After a great run by Mohamed Salah, Edin Dzeko had a one-on-one against Keylor Navas but the Bosnian striker finished in poor fashion and was unable to give his team an early lead.
Like in the first leg, the visitors started the game strong and created chances but failing to capitalize, and again that would prove to be very costly in the end. Salah had another clear cut chance to score in the first half but after a great pass from Miralem Pjanic he took too long to shoot when Real Madrid’s defense was distracted waiting for a foul on Danilo to be called.
Roma’s relentless attack was forcing them to leave spaces behind and Real Madrid also had a few chances to seal the tie before half-time. First Gareth Bale sent a wonderful ball over to Cristiano Ronaldo in the box but the Portuguese failed to beat Wojciech Szczesny who sent the ball to the corner.
Only a couple of minutes later, the Welshman cracked a low cross into the small box but both Cristiano and James Rodríguez failed to poke the ball into the goal. Despite having several big chances for both sides, the first half finished 0-0.
The result obviously served the hosts better since even losing 1-0 they’d advance to the quarter-finals, though their defense struggled during the first 45 minutes and seemed like it could concede every minute.
A tight affair in Madrid
The match picked up exactly where it had left in the second half, with a very open game with clear scoring opportunities. Roma had yet another chance to bring suspense to the tie but Salah again missed a one-on-one, which was probably the final nail in the coffin for Roma’s aspirations to advance.
Around ten minutes later, Ronaldo met substitute Lucas Vazquez’s cross from the right and scored brilliantly anticipating Manolas. This goal meant Roma had to score three to advance, practically putting an end to the Italians’ aspirations to advance to the next round. Only two minutes later, Ronaldo himself assisted James, with the aforementioned Colombian beating Szczesny at his near post with a brilliant finish from a very tight angle.
Staying at 2-0, the Spaniards went through comfotably in place of their Italian counterparts.
Like in the first leg though, Real Madrid’s individual brilliance really shone through on the night, and Roma’s poor finishing left them empty handed. If they’re to advance any further, the Spaniards will have to address their atrocious defensive performances, as any top class European side won’t be as forgiving as Roma was during these two games.