Roma were beaten 3-0 by Real Madrid with an Isco free kick, Gareth Bale counter and Mariano Diaz stunner, but Robin Olsen prevented a heavier result.
The Giallorossi reached the semi-final last season and started this campaign against the first club to win the Champions League three years in a row. Javier Pastore didn’t make the trip due to injury, but Eusebio Di Francesco shocked everyone by giving 19-year-old Nicolò Zaniolo his debut, even though he’d never even played in Serie A. Keylor Navas and Isco were chosen rather than Thibaut Courtois and Marco Asensio.
The record between these sides in Madrid was perfectly even, with two wins each and a draw.
Gareth Bale had a great chance in the opening minutes, his control on a Toni Kroos long ball and strike skimming the upright with Robin Olsen well beaten, then the goalkeeper got his gloves to an Isco effort set up by Luka Modric.
Roma wasted a great counter-attack with four against two, as Steven Nzonzi’s touch let him down, but the hosts inevitably dominated with a series of attempts.
The deadlock was eventually broken on the stroke of half-time when Isco curled a free kick into the near top corner from the D, although the Roma wall could’ve done more to jump.
The Giallorossi had a great chance after the restart, as Cengiz Under surged forward during a well-worked move and his powerful strike was acrobatically palmed over by Keylor Navas.
Bale came even closer, though, his attempt coming off the bar moments later. Isco threaded through the middle for Modric, who slid on to the finish and only prodded it straight at Olsen.
Following a Keylor Navas scare on Dzeko, Modric’s magnificent slide-rule pass split the defence in two and sent Bale clear to place his angled drive into the far bottom corner.
Roma still had chances, Aleksandar Kolarov’s daisy-cutter palmed round the post and Dzeko’s shot charged down from close range.
Patrik Schick should’ve done so much better when Cengiz Under went on the counter and rolled it across, but he slipped and ballooned horribly over the bar.
Olsen flew to push a Kroos curler away from the far top corner, then stuck out a hand to deny Asensio after a cheeky ruleta turn in the box.
Dzeko was the last to give in and Keylor Navas flew to palm away a header at the back stick. However, there was still time for a third goal, as Mariano Diaz cut inside Manolas and curled a right-foot stunner into the far top corner.
Real Madrid 3-0 Roma
Isco 43 (RM), Bale 58 (RM), Mariano Diaz 92 (RM)
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric (Ceballos 84); Bale (Diaz 73), Benzema (Asensio 62), Isco
Roma: Olsen; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Nzonzi (Schick 69), De Rossi, Zaniolo (Lorenzo Pellegrini 55); Under, Dzeko, El Shaarawy (Perotti 62)
Ref: Kuipers (NED)