Real Madrid overcame a sluggish start to defeat Roma 2-0 in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday night at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Both sides had already qualified for the last-16 before the start of the match after CSKA Moscow lost 2-1 after suffering a late collapse at home to Viktoria Plzen in Group G.
In Rome, Madrid star Gareth Bale capitalized on a defensive error from home defender Federico Fazio to put the holders in front against the run of play after the break.
Spain winger Lucas Vazquez ensured the La Liga side claimed all three points, tapping in from close range after Karim Benzema's cushioned pass from a Luka Modric cross.
Roma only had themselves to blame for the first goal at the start of the second half, as defender Federico Fazio inexplicably attempted to play a header back to his goalkeeper and instead served it up to Bale on a silver platter. The Welshman had the easiest of finishes forgive Real a 1-0 lead.
Bale should have added a second one just moments later after receiving an impeccable long ball from Marcelo, but Roma goalkeeper Robin Olsen snuffed out Bale's weak shot.
Real Madrid dominated on the scoreboard but still made some blunders in defense, allowed shots like that of Justin Kluivert in the 57th minute, gave the feeling of being a team still not with the right resources.
But in the 59th minute, a Real Madrid counter with Bale found Benzema, who combed ahead leaving the ball at the feet of Lucas Vazquez who marked his first goal in Champions League. The 2-0 only spoke of the punch of Real Madrid.
After the win, Real boss Solari said, "Matches last 90 minutes and we knew how to mature over the course."
"We worked hard in the first half but were more precise in the second.
"It's true that they had a chance to change the match, but the first time we had such a chance we did what we had to do."
On leaving out Isco on the bench the Real coach explained, "There are specific decisions for specific moments."
"We are making decisions and that's it, they are almost always sporting except in rare cases, but that doesn't apply here.
"We're here to give everything and who starts and who is on the bench is a fictitious problem that doesn't exist."
About the Author
Jeet Ghosh is a Football Journalist, living and working in Kolkata with 7 years of experience. He has also worked with Sportzwiki and India.com. Jeet is a sports lover but has special liking for football. He follows the football league’s around the world and is somewhat partial towards Real Madrid.