Roma travelled to a wet and cold Russia to face CSKA Moscow in the Champions League. Roma went into the game confident of another victory over the Russian side. They were also unbeaten in Russia, winning three and drawing once in previous visits. Roma were wary that Champions Real Madrid were beaten here just one month ago. CSKA were hoping to beat the visitors and leapfrog them in the group stage.
Early Goal From Akinfeev Error Helps Roma Win
The first half went to plan for Roma, getting off to a flying start. Lorenzo Pellegrini whipped in the corner which saw Akinfeev rush off his line. He mistimed his jump which invited Kostas Manolas to head the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. Roma kept control of the ball in the first half but both sides barely had a chance on goal.
The biggest talking point in the first half was the head injury of Mario Fernandez. A clash with Kolarov saw the defender knocked out and stretchered off after a knee to the back of the head.
The Second Yellow for Magnusson Reduced Chances of a Comeback
The second half saw another early goal from 19-year-old Sigurdsson. A clever run from Akhmatov left Roma’s midfield for dead before poking it into the path of Sigurdsson, who shoved Santon out of his way before slotting home. Just as CSKA looked to get a foothold into the game, Icelandic defender Magnusson got sent off after a foul on Kluivert saw him receive a second yellow.
Shortly after the sending off, Lorenzo Pellegrini made the home side pay for a defensive positioning error. He hit the ball low and hard after Cristante’s failed shot fell to his feet. Akinfeev had no chance as the close-range shot bulged into the back of the net. CSKA seemed to regroup after the goal and pushed on, looking the more likely team to score. However, the goal never came and all the points went to Roma.
Olsen had nothing to do in the first half. A few routine saves were asked of him late on the first half but nothing to test. The goal in the second half could have been prevented if his positioning was better.
Was his usual self in terms of positioning and defending. Oblyakov proved a handful at times, but he managed to keep him under control. He made an excellent block to stop 20-year-old Chalov from finding the equaliser shortly after going one up.
Had a quiet game in both halves. He was to blame for the CSKA’s only goal. He was easily pushed aside for Sigurdsson to score. If he stood stronger he would have had a better chance of clearing his lines
The defender looked very confident on the ball and carried it forward when needed. He seemed happy passing it around the back and picked the short ball and long ball perfectly.
Scored the first goal of the game just four minutes after kick-off. Lorenzo Pellegrini whipped in the corner that Manolas rose above Akinfeev to meet. It’s only Manolas’ second goal of the season but proved to be vital to maintain their good form in Europe. Saves the equaliser in the 40th minute to boost Roma’s chances of qualification.
Was also quiet all game. Will be very happy that his bad shot turned into a valuable assist for the second goal. Needs to improve to keep his place in the team.
Lorenzo Pellegrini: 8.5
Pellegrini had a wonderful game. His attacking flair and pace provided problems for the Russian side’s defence. He picked up a goal and an assist which helped Roma obtain three points. Was substituted late on as his energy depleted.
Florenzi pressed high throughout the game. His hard defensive work proved useful for his side. His passing was tremendous and left fans purring as he picked out Dzeko many times.
Kluivert had an incredible second half. He was very comfortable in possession. Every attack seemed to go through him. The youngster will be attracting interest from other European teams after a very strong entrance into the football stage.
Nzonzi showed his defensive class today. He dictated play well, finding passes from deep allowing Roma to counter. High pressure paid off in the oppositions half as he won the ball back and cancelled any danger well. He showed good balance to his game, as he looked powerful going forward.
Dzeko will be frustrated with his performance tonight. He struggled to take any chances that he got, snatching at every opportunity. The Russian defence blocked him out of the game and he was man-marked throughout.
Had a difficult game but made some very good saves. Big mistake for the first goal, real error in judgement running out for the corner. Good save from Dzeko to make sure he didn’t add to his five goals in the Champions League this season.
Mario Fernandes: 6.0
An early clash with Kolarov to the back of the head meant he had to be carried off eight minutes in. Was a shame for the player as he impressed in the World Cup. He didn’t get a chance to impress. The game could have been different if he stayed on the pitch.
Great positioning display from Nababkin. Good defensive duties marking Dzeko for the full 90 mins alongside Becao.
Had a miserable game from the first minute. All the wrong types of passes throughout the game. Defensively all over the place too. Sent off in the 56th minute for a foul on the edge of the area which gave him his second yellow card. The first came from a handball earlier on the in the game.
Rodrigo Becao: 8.5
Had a fantastic battle with Dzeko. Good strength which kept Dzeko out of the game. Was an absolute unit throughout the game and despite defeat had a solid performance.
The on-loan Croatian had a mixed game. The first half he was expressive and dictated play when his side were in posession. As the second half drew to a close Vlasic looked tired and drained after a physical match.
Sigurdson had a slow first half performance. He kept picking the wrong pass and lost the ball too easily. The midfielder had a couple first-half chances but played the ball into the path of Olsen both times. He had a better second half before being brought off for Chenov in the 64th minute. He bagged the goal which gave the Rome supporters hope of a comeback.
Bijol had a game to forget tonight, barely getting on the ball. He lost the ball nearly as soon as he got onto it. Showed his inexperience in the Champions League but will have learned a lot from defeat.
The Russian attacker always looked to go forward. He dodged and weaved past defenders and always caused some trouble for the defense. He made a great run for the goal in the 50th minute and skipped past every tackle. Only negative would be the final delivery to Chalov, who got frustrated with the lack of time on the ball.
Oblyakov showed good attacking play but failed with the final ball. He was twisting and turning making good runs. He will be dissapointed that he missed a massive chance in the 40th minute. Pushed really hard and well after the sending off, constanlty stretching Kolarov and Santos.
Looked sharp in the game but didn’t have the support he normally ggets. Good movement but no service what so ever in the first half. The second half push was more successful and CSKA looked for more dangerous when they played the ball through the youngster.