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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

UCL Roma 0 - 2 Man U Aftermath

Spalletti: The Result Punishes Us

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti admits that the defeat to Manchester United on Wednesday night is a heavy result.The Giallorossi lost 2-0 to the Red Devils in the Stadio Olimpico after goals by Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney saw the Premier League leaders run out comfortable winners. Spalletti now believes that qualification will be difficult but he is confident that his side will go to Old Trafford to try and overturn the result.

“The result doesn’t show the game we played,” Spalletti told Sky Sport Italia.
“We played how we should have and we deserved more both at the begining of the game and in the second half.
“When they took the lead we should have raised our game.
“The result punishes us quite a lot and now qualification is very difficult however we have scored two goals away from home in different Champions League games so we will go there to play for qualification.
“We need to acknowledge what has happened and try and overturn the situation.”
Roma have it all to do in the second leg at Old Trafford. Last year the Lupi lost 7-1 in Manchester. No doubt they will be hoping to avoid the same humiliation this time around.

Victorious Ferguson: I Should Have Switched Rooney Sooner

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson professed himself to be "very, very pleased" after his side produced an impressive tactical performance to beat Roma 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Asked by ITV Sport if he rated their performance as United's best in Europe this season, manager Sir Alex Ferguson hesitated before saying: "Possibly, yes, in view of the quality of the opposition."He added: "It was a very good team against us." Ferguson said his side had had to defend well because Roma could have scored on at least couple of occasions.However, Ferguson also admitted: "I should have put Rooney through the middle sooner," a reference o the tactical change that reaped almost immediate dividends when Rooney added United second with another potentially priceless away goal.Ferguson praised his team's "good, disciplined performance," and stressed: "We didn't lose a goal, which is vital."And he summed up the night by saying: "I'm very, very pleased."

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored the opener with a stunning header, claimed United were well worth their victory.Ronaldo produced a brave, spring-heeled jump to power a Paul Scholes cross down into the net and set United on their way to a commanding first leg lead."It's a very good performance. Everyone knows it's a tough game. Roma played very well, but we created a few chances,"

Ronaldo told ITV1 before leaving the pitch in Rome."I think we deserved this win."It was his 36th goal of a remarkably productive season, and he added: "It's a good header, and I feel very happy because I scored the goal and I helped the team."Asked about the contribution of the United defence, Ronaldo praised his team-mates. Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Wes Brown provided a solid platform and Ronaldo acknowledged this when he said: "Rio, Vid and Pat and everyone played very well.

"The Portugal winger now feels United have an excellent opportunity to win the competition."I think we have a great chance. The team played fantastic. The team is more mature," he said. "Of course, Manchester United want to win this season."

Esposito: We Can Still Go Through
Roma striker Maurizio Esposito admits Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal just before half time severly damaged the Giallorossi’s chances of a win but he still believes his side can conquer the Red Devils at Old Trafford.

The home side lost 2-0 on the night even though they looked like the better team for most of the game. However goals by Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo conquered Rome, leaving Esposito downbeat.
“We played a great team and we began fairly well and we should have scored,” Esposito told Sky Sport Italia.
“However Ronaldo’s goal at the end of the second half seemed to have chopped us down.
“We tried getting back in the second half and we had several chances of scoring but we were not able to.
“Then when they scored a second, we were no longer able to re-shape the game.”
Esposito is also confident of causing an upset in the second leg at Old Trafford.
“This side is capable of getting a result on any pitch and we have shown this in the past where we have won in important places," he said. “It will be very hard but we can still do it.”
The Giallorossi will be hoping they can pull off a miracle in Manchester however their chances of doing so are very thin given the 2-0 deficit.


Doni – 5: In the first two-thirds of the game he did not have a single save to make, yet Roma found themselves 0-2 down. Could do nothing on Ronaldo’s goal, but he was at fault for spilling the ball into the path of Rooney for the second.

Cassetti - 6: Defensively he neutralized the threat of Ronaldo for long spells, although he was beaten in the air by the winger for the first goal. When the game opened up after the second goal, he naturally found Ronaldo's pace impossible to deal with.

Mexes – 5.5: Disappointing. Was turned by Rooney in the build-up to Ronaldo’s goal, then seemed to lose his head in the second half, getting booked for dissent.

Panucci – 6: Relatively sound, although he missed two glorious chances to score for his side, heading over from a corner, and volleying the ball over from just six yards.

Tonetto – 7: Bombed up-and-down the left flank and was desperately unlucky to see his shot go inches past the post when the score was 0-1. An energetic display.

De Rossi – 7: Roma’s best midfielder as usual. Held back and protected the defence in the first half, and was the reason Utd had just one shot in the first half. After the break he was forced to push forward, and as a result the gaps opened up behind him.

Aquilani – 6: Was hugely impressive in the last round against Real Madrid, but did not stand out tonight. His long-range shooting let him down.

Pizarro – 6: Blew hot and cold. Some creative play, but also a number of loose passes. A stylish player, but he often lacks substance.

Taddei – 5.5: Never really got into the game did the Brazilian. Looked fragile and low on confidence at times, and was never really able to get at Evra before he was replaced on 59 minutes.

Mancini – 5.5: Was expected by many to really give Brown a hard time down the left, but this never really materialized. His final ball was also very poor.

Vucinic - 7.5: Roma's main threat, he was immense up-front, and it is a mystery how he never scored tonight. In the first half, he shot inches wide when all alone with Van der Sar, while after the break he brought out a stunning stop from the Dutchman. Also created Tonetto's excellent opportunity.

Substitutes: Giuly - 6, Cicinho – 6, Esposito - N.A

Man Utd

Van der Sar – 7.5: One world class save from Vucinic's header, in addition to some faultless goalkeeping throughout. Everything stuck to him, unlike at the other end with Doni.

Brown - 6.5: The 28-year-old was supposed to be United's weak link but he was rarely troubled by Mancini. Very steady display and crossed for Rooney's goal.

Ferdinand – 8.5: An absolute rock in defence. Made countless tackles and interceptions, including a superb one in the first half. A real leader, especially after Vidic's injury.

Vidic - 6: Was solid in the opening half-hour, until he picked up an injury during an aerial challenge with Vucinic, and was forced off the pitch.

Evra – 6: Coped relatively comfortably with Taddei, even if he was occasionally caught out of position. Offered little going forward.

Anderson - 5: Off-the-pace, and made very little impact on the game. Was second to most balls, and this led to his booking. Was replaced on 55 minutes for the more defensive-minded Hargreaves.

Scholes – 6.5: In truth Scholes did not offer one of his trademark European performances, but he did make one crucial contribution in creating Ronaldo's goal.

Carrick – 6: Was let off the hook on a couple of times, losing Panucci at a corner, and also being turned by Vucinic on his first half chance. However he was disciplined and could have added a third when he fired wide.

Park Ji Sung – 6: The South Korean never stopped running but there was not too much quality. Having said this, it was his header across goal that was spilled by Doni when Rooney scored.

Ronaldo – 7.5: In the first 66 minutes he made just one contribution, but it was a crucial one as he headed home to give his side the lead. After Rooney scored a second, the game opened up, and in this scenario Ronaldo is simply unstoppable. He went on to wreak havoc, hitting the post, firing a volley inches over, while running at the Roma defence every time he got the ball.

Rooney - 8: Very impressive. Started the move for Ronaldo's goal by beautifully turning Mexes. Scored the second in fortuitous circumstances, but he was alert to turn the ball in. Could have maybe added another, but all in all a great display.

Substitutes: O’Shea – 6.5, Hargreaves – 6, Tevez – N.A

A Pre Match News

Roma star Daniele De Rossi has branded United's Cristiano Ronaldo a liar for claims made in his autobiography. Meanwhile, Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been told by Giallorossi counterpart Luciano Spalletti to forget the bottle of Italian red at full time.

De Rossi is incensed by Ronaldo's boastful claims in his book that Roma stars were begging him for mercy during last season's 7-1 Champions League thrashing at Old Trafford. The Portuguese wrote that the Giallorossi players felt embarrased by his display of skills and tricks, asking him to stop to avoid them losing further face. Ronaldo's Telling Lies"We never said anything like that," blasted De Rossi. “If he really wrote that, then maybe he does not remember too well what actually happened."

"We want to set the record straight this time," added the Italy midfielder with a view to avenging last season's pummeling. Wine-ing SpallettiMeanwhile, it appears that resentment from the Roma side isn't restricted to those on the pitch. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson revealed he was looking forward to catching up with Roma coach Spalletti at full-time, joking that the Italian always had a good bottle of wine on offer. But the Giallorossi coach bit back, telling Fergie in no uncertain terms that there would be no niceties on Tuesday. "This time there will be no gifts from me," he said. “We gave them seven gifts at Old Trafford last season. There will be no wine and there will be fewer goals.”

Spalletti: United Can't Play Abroad
Roma coach Luciano Spalletti has stoked the fires ahead of tonight's game with Manchester United by claiming the Red Devils just can't deliver in Europe away from Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side did not win either of their previous two games against Spalletti's Roma at the Olimpico and despite winning their other two away group games this season they struggled to a draw in Lyon in the last round. Added to that, last season saw an embarassing defeat away to Kopenhagen in the group stages, with another loss against Celtic and a mauling in Milan in the semi-finals. All in all, Fergie's side have won just 3 of their last 18 European away matches. Spalletti has acknowledged the strength of the Red Devils at Old Trafford, but says his Roma side will be out to give United another away day European nightmare tonight. Roman Fortress"We will make sure we turn the Stadio Olimpico into a fortress for the visit of United," vowed the Giallorossi boss. "United are the best team in the world, but it's a long time since they got a very important win abroad. They're fantastic at Old Trafford, but they never dominate a match away. They are very good on the counter-attack, but they aren't good at controlling games."