Champions League

Roma routs CSKA Moscow

2014-09-17 22:56
Gervinho (AFP)

Rome - Gervinho has hit a first-half brace as AS Roma marked their return to the Champions League in stunning fashion on Wednesday with a 5-1 rout of CSKA Moscow.

Roma had last featured in the competition in the 2010-11 season when they reached the last 16.

But after a three-year wait, and having finished runners-up to Juventus in the Serie A title race last season, Rudi Garcia's men have underlined their intention to claim one of the two coveted qualifying places from a Group E which also includes Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

Roma can now look forward to a trip to Manchester on September 30 to face a City side who started with a 1-0 defeat to Bayern in Germany.

Garcia had rested a number of key players for the Giallorossi's visit to Empoli last weekend and his strategy paid off, with Argentinian Juan Iturbe, who sat out the 1-0 win in Tuscany, firing Roma into a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute after a mazy run that left him in a one-on-one with Igor Akinfeev.

Russian champions CSKA had travelled to the Italian capital with several players absent due to injury and suspension and they looked off the pace throughout.

Roma's movement and ball distribution had the visitors in trouble almost at every turn in the opening stages and Gervinho doubled the hosts' lead in the 10th minute with a fine piece of control before slotting the ball past the outstretched Akinfeev.

Leonid Slutsky's side missed what could have been a game-changing chance in the 16th minute when Seydou Doumbia powered upfield on the counter to find himself on a one-on-one with Morgan De Sanctis.

But only yards from the Roma 'keeper, Doumbia inexplicably lost his footing and lost control.

CSKA were pushing up in desperation, but that strategy left holes at the back which Roma promptly exploited.

Four minutes later Brazilian defender Maicon was allowed space on the right and he unleashed an angled drive which Akinfeev failed to hold, the ball slipping past his grasp and into the net.

Roma suffered a blow minutes later when Iturbe was replaced by Alessandro Florenzi with an apparent leg injury.

However it did not stop the Giallorossi juggernaut. Gervinho grabbed his second of the match, and Roma's fourth, after collecting from Francesco Totti and sliding the ball past Akinfeev.

CSKA re-emerged from the half-time break determined to make amends but only five minutes in the visitors crumbled, this time Sergei Ignashevich providing an own goal after a cross from Vassilis Torossidis, given the nod at left-back in place of Ashley Cole, came off the defender's back.

Slutsky made a series of late substitutions and minutes after the match was halted briefly -- as police entered the stands to break up clashes between both sets of fans -- the Russians grabbed a late consolation when Ahmed Musa dribbled his way into the penalty area to beat De Sanctis from close range.

Three minutes later CSKA were unfortunate not to have been awarded a second goal when Georgi Milanov's drive beat De Sanctis, hit the crossbar and appeared to cross the line.

Read more on:    cska moscow  |  roma  |  champions league  |  gervinho  |  soccer
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