AS Roma defeated Real Madrid 1-0 in an International Champions Cup game in Dallas on Tuesday night, with captain Francesco Totti getting the goal.
Real debuted their new pinkish-purple jerseys and, for much of the game, resembled a flurry of fuchsia fury. They had the better of the play and the chances, lurking on lightning-quick counter-attacks, but had to capitulate to a flash of brilliance from the old master in the 58th minute.
The UEFA Champions League — and International Champions Cup — holders were all over Roma early on and for the bulk of the game. As early as the 3rd minute, Gareth Bale was fouled and his teammate Luke Modric curled the free kick onto Sergio Ramos’s head. But the defender put his effort high and wide.
Modric would sprinkle great passes about for much of the night, combining ever so well with Bale up the left flank as the Welshman cut and drove menacingly through Roma’s half. In the 16th minute, Bale would take a shot from an acute angle on another combination with Modric that goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski had to slap away from his near top corner. Not long thereafter, Bale was played in by a quick Lucas cross. But Mehdi Benatia’s challenge pressured him well and his finish sailed wide.
For a while, the game turned into something of a track meet. Roma’s Juan Iturbe put his chance high and wide after Adem Ljajic set him up. Then Bale almost connected with Lucas in front of goal at the other end. On the next play, Ljajic got away but hit his shot just wide after a fine move. Then Bale was off to the races again but saw his smash sizzle just wide of goal.
Real would probably have felt aggrieved not to have scored in the 43rd minute, robbing itself of the go-ahead goal, and possibly the win. Lucas lashed a laser of a scissor kick at goal which the excellent Skorupski saved. Pepe smashed in the rebound, but Benatia threw himself in front of it and deflected the shot with his leg. Somehow, the teams headed back into the locker room with the score still blank.
In the second half, Roma gained a grip and would soon take the lead. Totti dummied a good Seydou Keita pass out wide, then met the cross from Alessandro Florenzi and stuck it into the far top corner. It was a goal of the majesty he has come to be known for, and will be much missed for when the 37-year-old finally retires.
Because on the very next play, Totti served up Ljajic with a cutback pass from the back line, who hit the side netting and should probably have done better with his shot to the near post.
Real remained dangerous but would muster no more major chances. And late on, chaotic scenes enveloped this contest as a slew of fans started to run onto the field, outnumbering the local police.
Nonetheless, Roma kept their composure when the game resumed and saw out the win over Europe’s champions.