Two of Europe’s most illustrious club sides will continue their pre-season preparations on American soil, as AS Roma and Real Madrid clash in the International Champions Cup. Both sides suffered defeat in their opening games of this intriguing competition and the duo will be looking to make amends in their second match.
A wonderful Gareth Bale goal wasn’t enough to see the European champions to victory as they lost 3-2 on penalties against Internazionale following a 1-1 draw.
Roma also suffered disappointment in the tournament opener, as they were beaten by Manchester United. The Red Devils raced into a 3-0 lead in that clash, and although the Giallorossi rallied to make the score 3-2, it was too little too late for Rudi Garcia’s team.
If either side are to preserve any lingering hopes of making it to the final of this competition then a win at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas is absolutely essential. Here’s all the information you need on where to catch what promises to be a thoroughly entertaining spectacle both on the box and via an online stream, plus a quick look at how this heavyweight battle could turn out.
|Date||Jul. 29 2014|
|Time||11:15 p.m. (BST) 8:15 p.m. (ET)|
|Live Stream||ESPN Desportes (US), Fox Sports 2 (US), Sky Sports 1 (UK)|
|TV Info||Fox Sports Go (US), Sky Go (UK)|
InternationalChampionsCup.com and Football World.com
Even though both Real and Roma were on the end of defeats in their competition openers, there were positives that both sides could take from the game. And in pre-season, results are admittedly secondary to promising performances and developing fitness.
The Spaniards will be delighted to welcome Cristiano Ronaldo back into their group, and his presence will be a huge draw for the Dallas crowd, as we can see here courtesy of Real Madrid's official Twitter account:
For Los Blancos, the standout man against Inter was their club record signing Bale, and Roma will have to be at their sharpest if they’re to nullify his influence. But that’s easier said than done, as Roma’s Serie A rivals discovered at their peril. If you fail to get tight to the Welshman—even when he’s 30 yards away from goal—then he has the ability to punish you, as illustrated here by World Soccer Talk:
Gareth Bale scored a brilliant goal tonight for Real Madrid against Inter Milan https://t.co/oeMxcJwnJb— World Soccer Talk (@worldsoccertalk) July 27, 2014
After scoring the winning goals in both the Copa del Rey and Champions League finals, Bale enjoyed a near-perfect debut season at the Santiago Bernabeu. But the former Tottenham man seems an insatiable character, and you can bet he’ll be targeting even more major honours in 2014/15 after a well earned summer break.
But somewhat remarkably, Bale might find himself beaten in the goal of the tournament stakes, after a man who’ll be in the opponents' XI in Dallas scored a goal from inside his own half! That man was midfield maestro Miralem Pjanic, and his strike was simply sensational; something he discussed here, courtesy of the official AS Roma Twitter account:
That goal was enough to inspire a Roma fightback of sorts against the Red Devils, but the Italians eventually left themselves too much of a gap to close and fell to a 3-2 defeat. Garcia will have been extremely concerned about some of the sloppy defending against United, and with the attacking prowess in Madrid’s team, he’ll be well aware his team need to sharpen up at the back.
New signing Davide Astori is a player that could make a difference in those areas; he’s an extremely elegant defender, excellent on the ball and a fine reader of the game. It remains to be seen if he’ll play any part against the European champions, though, after he only recently arrived in the States to join his new teammates, per AS Roma’s Twitter account:
Although this will be a match that both teams will be desperate to win in order to further their participation in this competition, expect both Carlo Ancelotti and Garcia to make plenty of changes for this one as they give the entirety of their squad an opportunity to rediscover their match sharpness.
Who will win this one?
It’s vital that the managers give suitable playing time to all members of the group and games like this against an extremely high calibre of opponent will provide a great indicator as to which players are looking sharp ahead of the new campaign. Indeed, after both teams have invested heavily in the transfer window this summer, competition for places in the starting XI for both sides will be fierce.
Taking what we can from the opening games, you’d have to say that it’s Madrid who look most likely to triumph here. While they were unable to find their rhythm for long spells against Inter, the attacking talent Ancelotti has at his disposal should be too much for a Roma defence that looked extremely shaky against Manchester United.
Prediction: AS Roma 1-3 Real Madrid