After this weekends showing against Eibar, Madrid were going to have to step it up if they wanted to take anything away from Rome. Solari wen’t for an alternative team selection, as Courtois started in goal. Marcos Llorente was given a chance in midfield, with Lucas Vázquez also starting out on the right. After a poor first half and a bizarre yet eventful second period, Madrid saw out the game with the scores ending 2-0 to the visitors. My player ratings from the game were as so:
Thibaut Coirtois — 6: His distribution was notably poor at times, but he made a few top interventions and saves, and without those the game would have gone very early on. I’m not sure I would brand it a confident showing, but there were certainly positive moments.
Dani Carvajal — 6: This is quite an awkward performance to rate. I thought on the ball in the first half especially Dani was pretty poor, and a few of his give-aways could have lost Real the game on another day. That being said - some of his blocks were truly excellent, and his all round performance improved drastically when Madrid took over in the second half.
Sergio Ramos — 6: Another awkward one. Guilty of a few mistakes in that first half, but remained solid and actually looked pretty superior in the second half.
Raphaël Varane — 6.5: Outpaced at times and sometimes looked like he was holding back. Still impacted the game with some good defending during set-pieces when the rest of the team looked a mess.
Marcelo — 6.5: Standard game from the Brazilian. Got forwards as you would expect and dazzled the crowds with his magic feet from time to time. Another shaky performer in the opening half, but eventually went and did his own thing in the second half, trying hard to get on the score sheet.
Marcos Llorente — 8: Chances like this do not come around often, and need to be grabbed with both hands. Marcos did exactly that tonight, and this assured performance is certain to earn him a few more opportunities in the near future. My man of the match for this game. This could be the turning moment that the Spaniard has been waiting for.
Toni Kroos — 7: Looked pretty assured with the ball at his feet, spraying passes all over the pitch. Was another player that became a lot more alert in the second half, but was vital in gaining the team control of the game during that 45 minutes.
Luka Modrić — 7.5: Many of the times I’ve had to rate Luka this season, he has looked exhausted before a ball has even been kicked. Today was different. Even in the first half I thought he looked pretty fluent and he was drifting all over the pitch. He was comfortable on the ball and provided a few class moments here and there. Still more to come from the little magician I suspect.
Lucas Vázquez — 7: Lucas looked sharp tonight. Got himself on the score-sheet, but away from that he caught fans attention with his ball control and agility. Looked a lot more up for it tonight than he has on previous occasions for sure.
Gareth Bale — 6: A rusty first half to say the least. He was pretty inactive as a few heavy touches down the line were his only notable inclusions. That changed early in the second half when he gained a bit of fortune, and received a poor header in an offside position. This gave him time to slot home and score Madrid’s first goal. From then on he looked far more interested, and put together some nice plays. His pass to Benzema before the second goal was a moment of great quality.
Karim Benzema — 7: Didn’t get on the score sheet, but I did enjoy his performance. He got the assist for Vázquez’s goal with a nice cushioned header putting it on a plate for the Spaniard. Took a fair few smooth touches forwards with the ball, but still squandered some decent chances.
Mariano Díaz — 5: This was Mariano’s first game back from an injury, and it looked it. He took a heavy touch down the line, played a decent pass, and that was about it. Slap bang in the middle for the big man tonight.
Fede Valverde — 6: It was good to see Fede Valverde get some minutes tonight. Whilst he didn’t blow fans away with his cameo, he still looked a danger and never shied away from the ball. Almost got on the score-sheet late on with a deflected effort.
Marco Asensio — 6: Came on towards the end of the match for Gareth Bale. Was a nuisance for a broken Roma to deal with whilst he had the ball at his feet.
At half time these ratings would have been a lot lower, but a far improved second half raised the scores for everyone on the pitch. Bale’s goal changed the trajectory of the game, and from then on it was all Real Madrid. It remains another intriguing performance, and not necessarily for positive reasons. This win ensures that Real Madrid will progress into the next round of the competition, so there will be a few more of these nights to come!