Given Real Madrid's historical struggles in Italy, it was really encouraging to see them come away with such a huge result in Rome. Zidane continues to pass his tests with flying colours, and while there were some lapses, the overall play from the whites (or grays) was disciplined and efficient.
Here are a few notes.
- It would have been extremely disappointing had Real Madrid not came out of this match with at least one away goal and some kind of result. The way the game had unfolded, it was clear Real Madrid were superior. Roma was pressing high and looking dangerous on the counter, but it was never enough for Real Madrid to look uncomfortable to the point where they weren't able to create. Once they got past Roma's midfield, they created chances. The most frustrating aspect of the way this match started was the amount of giveaways from both teams. For as well as Real Madrid played in certain aspects of the game, they gave the ball away many times and survived without Roma capitalizing on those giveaway. After Ronaldo's goal, Real Madrid should have had three or four goals. Oles rang around the stadium as Real Madrid fans were drowning out the Stadio Olimpico.
The last 15 minutes of this match were bizarre, to say the least. Real Madrid had a plethora of uncontested chances as if it was a training match, but couldn't capitalize until Jese came in and buried the team's 2nd goal. On the flip-side, Roma had at least two clear-cut chances where they should've scored. All in all, the result was fair.
- Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up in a massive way. Even before he scored, his involvement was fantastic - always looking for the ball and not shying away. Great timing in the season for Ronaldo to find his form. Que golazo. I also really liked James and Isco. Neither were other-worldly, but they really worked hard to be involved.
- The eternal Marcelo conundrum manifested itself tonight. He was roasted defensively a few times by Salah - who must be an infuriating player in his own right if you're a Roma fan - but his creativity was so badly needed in a match like this. What completely masked defensive problems stemming from the wings was the stellar performance from both Varane and Ramos, who probably had their best match together since the Champions League final in Lisbon.
- Keylor Navas - didn't have to deal with much, but dealt with any tests he had beautifully.
- JESE iced this sucker. Great goal, and let's not underplay the belief Zidane has had in him over the last couple months.