Roma edges Real on penalties

MELBOURNE – Roma have taken the opening honours in the International Champions Cup, edging Real Madrid 7-6 on penalties after a stalemate at the MCG.

Over 80,000 turned out for the occasion but booed the 0-0 result on full-time.

No one could find the net during regular time but they couldn’t miss in the shoot-out, roaring to a 5-5 scoreline and forcing sudden death.

Roma’s Seydou Keita scored the winner after goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis dived to his left to deny new Real Madrid man Lucas Vazquez after 12 straight penalty goals.

Despite the wealth of footballing talent on the ground, none found a regular path to goal in 90 minutes.

It became clear very quickly most in the bumper crowd had come to see Cristiano Ronaldo, who enjoyed giant cheers whenever he touched the ball.

Sadly for his adoring fans he played only a bit-part in the friendly.

Ronaldo was outdone by fellow forwards Gareth Bale, Jese and Norwegian wonder-kid Martin Odegaard in new coach Rafael Benitez’s experimental attack.

Roma enjoyed the best of an open first half without clear cut chances.

Francesco Totti sparkled as Roma’s creator in chief, while Gervinho looked the most dangerous man on the ground with his direct, attacking runs.

After four minutes, Daniele De Rossi found the crossbar from a corner, with Totti unlucky not to score after fine footwork to gather the rebound.

Real’s best chance of the first-half fell to right-back Carvajal, who belted a half-volley just high on 35 minutes.

Playing largely as a left winger, Ronaldo looked a frustrated man without the ball and was wasteful with it.

He departed along with seven of his teammates at halftime, with Roma making nine changes.

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