AS Roma 0-2 Real Madrid: Player Ratings
Rating the performances of the Real Madrid and Roma players from their 1st leg Champions League round of 16 encounter.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Jese Rodriguez scored as Real Madrid saw off a spirited Roma performance with a 2-0 victory and set the tone for a routine entry into the quarter-finals of this season’s UEFA Champions League.
After a first half devoid of clear-cut chances, the game burst into life in the 57th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike from the edge of the box – following a great run from the wing – took a deflection off Roma captain Alessandro Florenzi and flew past a diving Wojciech Szczesny. Roma pressed hard for an equaliser, but were ultimately given the sucker punch by substitute Jese in the 86th minute as Real took a comfortable lead to the Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg three weeks later.
We observe each player’s performance during the game and assign them a rating on a scale of 1-10:
Wojciech Szczesny – 6.5
Szczesny made a few routine stops, but nothing really that deserved a pat on the back. Ronaldo’s deflected goal was out of his reach and he couldn’t have seen Jese’s late strike early enough to commit himself to a save.
Alessandro Florenzi – 7.5
Roma’s captain was a vivacious character on the right throughout the game. His partnership with Salah was menacing and Roma’s most likely goal-scoring source. He was unfortunate on a couple of occasions – Ronaldo’s goal deflected off him and a penalty shout went against him when Dani Carvajal appeared to have snapped his legs with the ball nowhere in the proximity.
Kostas Manolas – 7
Manolas closed down Karim Benzema quite well throughout the game. Most of the low crosses were taken care of well by the Greek defender but he could do nothing about the 2 goals.
Antonio Rüdiger – 8
A brilliant game for the German, who dealt with each Real Madrid attack with relative assurance. His height helped him rise above everyone else when crosses came flying in. Like Monalos, he too was personally helpless to stop the two goals from being scored.
Lucas Digne – 7
The PSG loanee gave a good account of himself for large periods at left-back, occasionally making the forward dash to force a goal-scoring chance for Roma. He didn’t give James Rodriguez the space he needed to thread his way through the Roma defence, which is a green tick in his profile. Digne could be held guilty for not stopping the sucker-punch that led to the second goal, but Roma badly needed an equaliser.
William Vainqueur – 6.5
He was guilty of giving the ball away in midfield multiple times, resulting in a majority of Roma attacks coming from the wings. Vainqueur was unable to be the dictating figure typical of a central midfielder.
Miralem Pjanic – 6
The set-piece specialist’s tendency to get rid of the ball from his feet by playing one-touch football proved costly, as his passes were being constantly intercepted by Luka Modric and Isco in midfield. None of his corners too were dangerous enough to test the Madrid defence.
Mohamed Salah – 7.5
His absolutely searing pace on the right wing gave Marcelo a headache at the end of the game. His partnership with Florenzi was working wonders, as they were able to shift the ball to the other end of the pitch within the blink of an eye. He was the centre of Roma’s high-press in the last 20 minutes, creating chance after chance in a bid to grab that equalising goal. A quality finish, however, was the only thing lacking in the Egyptian’s otherwise impressive performance.
Radja Nainggolan – 7
The funky-haired Belgian tried his utmost best to dictate Roma’s play in the attacking third, sending Mohamed Salah on his way down the flanks and also attempting to conjure a series of passes with Vainqueur and Pjanic. The duo’s underwhelming form meant that Nainggolan had to stick largely to the former route.
Stephan El Shaarawy – 6.5
El-Shaarawy was thwarted on two occasions by some excellent Real Madrid defending – one by a strong Varane wipe-out and the other by some good touch-and-go sweeping work by keeper Keylor Navas. The Egyptian couldn't do too much of note apart from those two chances.
Diego Perotti – 6.5
The striker found himself bereft of goal-scoring chances with just a single attempt on goal – which was blocked. He was well checked by Sergio Ramos, ultimately enduring a disappointing night on the whole.
Edin Dzeko – 7
The ex-Manchester City man was a lively figure on the left wing after replacing Stephan el Shaarawy, getting a couple of cracks at goal, one of which hit the side netting when he had only Navas in front of him.
Daniele de Rossi – 6.5
The veteran replaced Vainqueur to bring some creativity and energy to the Roma midfield. De Rossi though, failed to inspire his side to an equaliser.
Francesco Totti – N/A
Roma’s everstay came on too late to make any sort of impact.