Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui has heaped praise on Mariano Diaz after he came off the bench to net in the Champions League win over Roma.
Goals from Isco, Gareth Bale and Mariano saw the La Liga side comfortably dispatch of their Italian visitors but in truth, it could, and should, have been so much more.
Madrid did go close seven minutes before the break with a Sergio Ramos header but Roma keeper Robin Olsen was able to tip the effort over the bar.
However, Los Blancos did take the lead at the end of the half. De Rossi was booked for bringing down Isco on the edge of the box with the Spaniard stepping up to clip the free-kick over the wall and into the corner of the net.
A great through ball from Luka Modric found Bale who set himself before drilling a low left foot shot across the goal into the bottom corner of the net.
Substitute Mariano, making his return to the Bernabeu after a year with Lyon, cut inside before bending a lovely shot into the top corner to get Real off to the perfect start in Group G.
So what did Lopetegui say after the game…..
“I’m happy with the team’s triumph against a team like Roma, who we knew were going to make life complicated,” the Coach told Movistar+ after the win on Wednesday evening.
“The team came out plugged in, creating chances. I wasn’t nervous, just lively. We know that if we don’t take our chances sooner or later, our opponents can take theirs.
“The team had a great game and deserved the three points. Mariano came on later, his chance came and he took it.”
The other game in the group saw CSKA Moscow score a last minute penalty as they came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Viktoria Plzen.