Bale plays half an hour

Bale finally gets chance with Real as Rome clinch shootout victory

In Summary

•Roma then kept their nerve in the penalty shoot-out to clinch the victory

•Welsh star Bale was given 30 minutes to impress and slotted home his spot-kick

Real Madrid forward Gareth bale during a recent match
Real Madrid forward Gareth bale during a recent match

Gareth Bale played half an hour for Real Madrid as Zinedine Zidane’s team drew 2-2 in Rome in the last of their pre-season friendlies and then lost the penalty shoot-out when Marcelo’s kick came back off the crossbar.

The club’s shapeless summer morphed into a couple more formations with Madrid starting the game in 3-5-2 and finishing it in a 4-4-2, and they looked like aside at the start of their pre-season not six days from the start of the season.

President Florentino Perez will hope that things improve. He might also be hoping that the abuse the Parc des Princes directed at Neymar at the start of Ligue 1 on Sunday night brings his price down so much that Real Madrid can afford to sign him. It might take more than Neymar’s dancing feet to sort Madrid out though.

Zidane radically changed tactics last week against Salzburg and he repeated his experiment in the Olympic Stadium but his three centre-backs with wing-backs were very wobbly in the first half as Roma looked like scoring with every attack.

Thibaut Courtois was the only reason they did not take the lead saving from Edin Dzeko and from Cengiz Under. The Bayern Munich target was particularly impressive and also hit the crossbar. Against the run of play Real Madrid took the lead when Luca Modric played the pass of the first half splitting the Roma defence diagonally into the path of Marcelo who cut in from the left to curl a shot right-footed past Pau Lopez. The Madrid defence’s frailty soon told when Nicolo Zaniolo sprinted past Casemiro and crossed for Diego Perotti to score at the far post.

Casemiro made amends by heading Real Madrid back into the lead from Marcelo’s cross. He was a long way offside but the goal stood and Madrid were back in front, somewhat undeservedly. It lasted one minute with Under’s pace once again Real Madrid’s undoing. He broke quickly and fed Dzeko who levelled.

Zidane abandoned his 5-3-2 experiment at half-time and substitute Vinicius made an instant impact setting up Benzema whose shot was saved. Benzema then did better from distance forcing another corner. Luca Jovic had also come on at the break while Bale had to make do with warming-up at the start of the second half.