AS Roma, last season’s semi-finalists, travelled to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium to face three-time defending champions Real Madrid. Lopetegui decided to go with a 4-3-3 formation with Bale, Benzema and Isco at the front and a familiar midfield trio of Modric, Kroos and Casemiro.
Real Madrid had several chances in the first half to take the lead. Gareth Bale and Isco had their clear cut chances saved by the Roma keeper Robin Olsen. The midfield trio kept on probing the Roma defence, but it was pretty even up until the 43rd minute when Isco was fouled on the edge of the penalty area by veteran Daniel De Rossi.
Isco took complete advantage of this dead ball situation and his curling effort broke the deadlock and handed Real Madrid a slender 1-0 lead at the half-way mark.
In the second half, Roma did have a few chances, but a great throughball from Modric saw Bale score his first goal in this year’s Champions League in the 58th minute.
By then, Roma were already looking as if they lacked in spirit to come up against a team of Madrid’s calibre. Both teams made changes with Asensio and Mariano coming on for Madrid while Perotti and Schick came on for Roma.
A 91st minute superb strike from Mariano, the former Lyon man, saw Madrid score the third goal and end the match convincingly. Di Francesco has a lot to think about as Roma are off to a pretty rough start in Serie A as well and have to balance two major competitions starting from now, while for Lopetegui things are looking fine. But Madrid would like to keep things tight in the La Liga this season and challenge Barcelona for the domestic league as well.