HT: Roma let Real off the hook

Roma really should be in front at half-time against Real Madrid, as there was a strong penalty appeal, several saves and an incredible Cengiz Under miss.

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Both these sides already knew they were qualified for the Round of 16 before kick-off, as CSKA Moscow lost 2-1 at home to Viktoria Plzen. Sharing the top of the group on nine points each, this therefore became all about seeding. Both had a lot of injury problems, missing Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Javier Pastore and Diego Perotti. Real Madrid’s new Coach Santiago Solari left Isco in the stands, with Casemiro, Keylor Navas, Nacho, Alvaro Odriozola and Sergio Regulion unavailable.

Lucas Vazquez blatantly moved his hand towards the Aleksandar Kolarov flicked ball and slapped it, possibly inside the penalty area, but either way the referee waved play on. This will only intensify existing calls to have VAR introduced for the Round of 16 in the Champions League.

Dani Carvajal needed a desperate clearance under pressure from Stephan El Shaarawy as Cengiz Under sprung the offside trap and whipped in a taut cross, but on that move the Little Pharaoh slipped and injured himself. He had to come off a few minutes later to make way for Justin Kluivert, the only other available attacking player.

Robin Olsen had to make a tough save with his legs, as Luka Modric’s effort took a massive deflection, but Roma had a flurry of great opportunities.

Raphael Varane desperately managed to stop Kostas Manolas tapping in a corner, then there were four chances in quick succession. Carvajal used himself as a human shield on Federico Fazio, then Schick’s attempt was incredibly denied by an outstretched Thibaut Courtois foot and Kolarov drilled the follow-up wide.

Roma really should’ve taken the lead with the last kick of the half when Zaniolo rolled across for totally unmarked Cengiz Under, who somehow managed to fire over from a yard with Courtois already on the ground. The young Turkey international was distraught, consoled as he left the field almost in tears with Alessandro Florenzi.

Roma 0-0 Real Madrid (Half-Time)

Roma: Olsen; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Nzonzi, Cristante; Under, Zaniolo, El Shaarawy (Kluivert 22); Schick

Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, M Llorente, Modric; Bale, Benzema, Lucas Vazquez

Ref: Turpin (FRA)

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