Real Madrid 3-0 AS Roma: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis, Champions League 2018/19
Real Madrid kick-started their Champions League campaign on the right note as they cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win over AS Roma during their Group G opener at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night. The Los Blancos started the game brightly and dominated possession from the get-go to stamp their authority all over the game.
Julen Lopetegui's men continued to create chances time and again in the first half but were forced to wait until the 44th minute to break the deadlock through Isco's superb free-kick. The Spaniard showcased impressive technique to get the ball over the wall and into the back of the net from the edge of the area to provide the European champions with a well-deserved breakthrough.
Roma threatened Keylor Navas on a few occasions but the Real Madrid shot-stopper was always equal to the task and dealt with it without sweating too much. Luka Modric's defence-splitting pass paved way for Gareth Bale's goal in the 58th minute as the Los Blancos strengthened their grip on the game.
Mariano Diaz came off the bench and found the top corner with a superb curling effort from outside the area to complete the rout in stoppage time as the hosts secured all three points from the clash to make it a perfect night for the defending champions.
On that note, let's take a closer look at the major talking points from the Champions League clash under the lights at the Santiago Bernabeu:
#1 Real Madrid's high press and incisive passing pay in dividends
Julen Lopetegui's team resorted to their high pressing mentality and incisive passing to peg Roma back to the walls early on in the game. The European champions got off to a flying start courtesy of their precision when it came to knitting together moves to try and find an opening in the early stages.
Isco floated across the opposition's half as he made space for Toni Kroos and Luka Modric to settle down and play to their strengths from the referee's first whistle. Kroos picked out a perfect weighted pass to find Bale in the 3rd minute before the Welshman fired wide from just inside the penalty area while Isco failed to beat Robin Olsen from close range after being played through by Modric early on.
Real Madrid were playing with intent and it only seemed like a matter of when rather than if with respect to the opening goal and it finally came towards the end of the half courtesy of Isco himself.
The Spaniard was brought down at the edge of the area by Daniele De Rossi, who picked up a booking for the foul, and Isco made no mistake from the dead ball situation when he dispatched a clever dink over the wall to break the deadlock. The goal was almost like a testament to Isco's creativity and off the ball movement that helped the hosts dominate the game in the first half.