New Delhi: Roma qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League as Group A winners after comfortably defeating eliminated Bordeaux 2-0, Matteo Brighi and Francesco Totti grabbing the goals.
Team News and Build-Up
Roma had started Group A disastrously with an opening day loss at home to Cluj, but they had since recovered admirably to register three wins out of four. This placed them top of the group, and they knew that a draw against Bordeaux tonight would see them qualify for the knockout rounds. A defeat would only see them through if Chelsea failed to win at Stamford Bridge against Cluj.
Coach Luciano Spalletti made just one change to the team who won at Chievo on Saturday evening, with Christian Panucci replacing Cicinho at right back. Francesco Totti was supported by Jeremy Menez and Julio Baptista in attack. Aquilani, Tonetto and Okaka were all still out, but Mirko Vucinic was on the bench.
Bordeaux made an even more disastrous start to their European campaign, losing both of their first two games, but seven points from a possible nine meant that a win at the Olimpico would see them qualify. Any other result and they were out. Coach Laurent Blanc dropped Argentine striker Fernando Cavenaghi, fielding Marouane Chamakh up-front. There was a familiar face to Serie A audiences in on-loan Milan starlet Yoann Gourcuff. Ducasse, Henrique and Saivet all missed out due to injury.
Bordeaux had the first attempt of the game within the opening 90 seconds, as Fernando sliced the ball well wide from distance. Baptista replied in kind down the other end, forcing Ulrich Rame into a comfortable save at his near post.
The French side were showing their intent to attack right from the start, and Yoan Gouffran flicked on a Gourcuff cross, but it was easy for Doni. Marc Planus also headed over from Wendel's free kick.
Shots were raining in on goal in the early stages, and Baptista whipped a free kick over the wall, but he couldn't get the ball to dip enough. There was a similar result on 17 minutes when 'The Beast' tried another curler, this time from open play.
After a lively start, the pace of the game dropped a touch, and it took until the 30th minute before either side had another attempt, as Fernando harmlessly fired over from 30 yards. Wendel had an almost identical effort a few minutes later.
Roma seemed to lose all interest in attacking, and the few forward thrusts that did take place came from Bordeaux, Gourcuff the latest to leave his shooting boots at home as he scuffed the ball well wide.
Bordeaux came out of the traps the faster in the second half, and Roma's hearts were in their mouths when Chamakh turned and fired just a few inches wide.
Roma couldn't keep the ball, and had totally lost their rhythm, Gourcuff slashed wide, while Goufrann saw a shot charged down by Philippe Mexes. Down the other end, Simone Perrotta went down in the box, but the referee waved away the penalty appeals.
With just over half-and-hour to go, and Bordeaux needing a win to qualify, coach Blanc threw on a second forward, introducing Cavenaghi for the ineffective Gouffran.
However, with virtually their first serious attack of the second half Roma took the lead. Perrotta was released down the right hand, and he cut the ball back to the unmarked Matteo Brighi, who controlled and volleyed the ball past Rame on the turn.
The goal settled Roma down, and their passing improved, with Perrotta heading into the arms of Rame, and Totti failing to take advantage when isolated with the last Bordeaux defender. The away side now went for broke, throwing on David Bellion and Jussie.
On 76 minutes Bordeaux's most dangerous player, Gourcuff, let fly from 25 yards, but it was a comfortable save for Doni.
Minutes later it was all over though. Roma caught Bordeaux on the break. Menez slid the ball through to Totti, and Er Pupone made no mistake, thundering a low shot past Rame.
Bordeaux created their first real chance of the game on 82 minutes, as substitute David Bellion managed to get behind the defence, but his finish was high and horrible.
There was little else to report from the rest of the game, as Roma win Group A, and are joined in the knockout rounds by Chelsea. Bordeaux finish third and will have to make do with a place in the UEFA Cup. Cluj are out of Europe all together.
Roma: Doni, Panucci, Juan, Mexes, Riise, Brighi, De Rossi, Perrotta (Pizarro 89), Menez (Cicinho 79), Baptista, Totti (Vucinic 87)
Bordeaux: Rame, Chalme, Planus, Diawara, Jurietti, Fernando, Diarra, Gouffran (Cavenaghi 57), Gourcuff, Wendel (Bellion 68), Chamakh (Jussie 68)
Brighi 61 (R)
Totti 78 (R)
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