7 goals. 7!
There’s not much need to for a match report, is it? Manchester United beat Roma 7-1, winning the tie 8-3 and are now in the semi-finals.
You can catch the goals here. I’ll try the match report tomorrow morning.
Excuse me as I go book my ticket for Athens.
6 days ago in Rome, Manchester United and Roma played out a cracking game. It was 10 against 11 for over 60 minutes, but despite the ref, despite the ball boys and the fighting in the stadium, it was a good game.
Manchester United will be hoping for more of the same – they need to keep a clean sheet and trust Rooney and Ronaldo to put one goal in by half-time. After that, it’s United’s game to lose.
Second Leg – Match Details
Date: Tuesday, 10 April, 2007
Venue: Old Trafford
Time: 19:45 GMT
Saha is reportedly unfit and will not play for Manchester United today.
United will bring in Darren Fletcher to replace Paul Scholes in midfield. The other option is to play Giggs in the middle and Park on the left, with Ole and Rooney up front. There are mentions that Evra might return to the starting lineup but that would be unfair on Heinze, who has been excellent in defence and with Vida and Nev gone, United need his strength in defence.
Totti will undergo a late fitness test but should be cleared to play. Barring that, he could start on the bench.
Roma have Perrotta out through suspension, but with Mancini and Taddei free to weave their magic, United’s fullbacks will be in for a rough game.
Roma and Manchester United have issued warnings to their fans to be on their best behaviour. Roma have been cheeky enough to suggest that their fans can do no wrong – apparently throwing bottles and rushing to the glass divider (over-running stewards in the process) and baiting the opposition is the absolutely correct thing to do when your team scores a goal.
First Leg Review
Roma used home advantage to the fullest to go up 2-1 in the tie. This match had everything – diving by the Roma players, a sending of for Paul Scholes because of silly tackles, a 3 excellent goals (I’m partial to the Rooney effort) and police beating down on Manchester United fans.
It will be interesting to see how Manchester United and Uefa react to the ball-boys advantage and to the beat-down the Rome police delivered to the United fans.
If you think the first claim is bitter complaining, please go watch the game again and clock how quickly Roma get the ball back when it’s their throw in and how quickly Manchester United get the ball back when it’s their throw in.
And as for the beat-down – I don’t have all the facts so I’m not going to say much yet, but here’s the thing – you can’t have the police beating up fans with batons when the fans are on the floor.
It will be interesting to see how the authorities react after getting full video footage of the incident. You can catch detailed coverage of that incident here:
Returning to the match, United did well in the second half, but could have done better. They’ll take the away goal and Roma will take the lead, but this was a game United should have won, or at the very least drawn.
There’s no point in complaining about the first goal (quick help from the ball boy for that corner) – United should have known that was going to happen and they failed to prepare for it. It’s Roma using all the tricks at their disposal (after the mouthing off they gave Ronaldo it was funny to see Taddei and Mancini tumbling at every touch), and Manchester United came up a bit short.
All to play for at Old Trafford, and with Saha fit, United have a good chance of still winning the tie.
Roma 2-1 Manchester United – Goals
Taddei 1 – 0 – Roma v Man Utd
Uploaded by samgoff
First Leg – Match Details
Date: Wednesday, 04 April, 2007
Venue: Stadio Olimpicio
Time: 19:45 GMT
Score: Roma 2-1 Manchester United
This season, Roma carry the air of a wide-eyed virgin who has been transported directly from church to brothel with 20 million Euros in their pockets but is unable to…”make the most” of it. It has been a comical, almost tragic, series of blunders, and the fact that they sit prettily in second place in Serie A fails to hide the fact that they are at a distinct psychological disadvantage when it comes to leading instead of chasing.
Their inability to keep up with Inter in the early parts of the season has a lot to do with being saddled with the mindset of being a second-tier team. Where Inter relish the freedom accorded to them through Milan’s decline / points deduction and Juventus’ relegation, Roma have been uncomfortably thrust into the spotlight far ahead of their time.
And yet, Roma have that magical touch, the romance of the underdog, the thrill of controlled aggression and a larger-than-life, thumb-sucking, stupendously talented and capable of scoring goals-that-make-you-drool talisman Totti.
There’s no telling which Roma will turn up – the dashing Giallorossi who have the will and ability to push the best of teams back, or the stumbling Romans who are unable to push out of their own half.
One thing is certain though – somewhere during these 180 minutes, whether at Stadio Olimpico or Old Trafford, the crowd will stand to their feet chant Totti’s name.
This is his stage, his moment. At 29, Totti doesn’t have South Africa 2010 or even Euro 2008 in his mind. He wants to rule Europe, and this season could be his last chance to do so.
The above analysis may sound harsh if you consider that Roma won the Serie A in 2000-2001, and were runners up in 2001-02, 2003-04 and 2005-06 (5th, but pushed up 2nd due to the match-fixing scandal). However, those stats hide the fact that Roma were, like Newcastle last season, flirting with relegation in 2004/2005 before finishing 8th, and finished bottom of their Champions League group.
In short, they are very, very lucky to be in the Champions League this season, despite their strong domestic cup form (where they manage to make (and lose) the final of Coppa Italia quite regularly).
Roma history (ManUtd.com)
AS Roma – profile (Wikipedia)
Francesco Totti (Wikipedia)
Roger Taddei interview (Times Online)
Totti piece by Amy Lawrence (Guardian)
Mancini Interview (UEFA.com)
Manchester United Preview
Manchester United have been missing from the final eight of the Champions League for some time now, so this is a welcome return. Considering their season, it is also an ideal platform for the Red Devils to push on and make a play for Athens.
Where Roma were wasteful of their opportunities, Manchester United grabbed the bull by the horns and are now 6 points clear top of the Premiership with 8 games to go. They have an easy path to the FA Cup final, and in Roma Manchester United have the second-easiest opponents (after PSV Eindhoven).
The media has already started building up the possibility of a treble, a dream triple-finale in May between Manchester United and Chelsea. United aren’t biting yet, and Alex Ferguson will have them focused squarely on winning at home against Blackburn on Saturday before switching their attention to their trip to Rome next Wednesday.
Manchester United go into this clash as form and media favourites, and while you can expect the usual concerns about Manchester United not having goal scorers, between Rooney, Ronaldo, Giggs and co they have enough firepower and quality to dispose of any team.
Their away form is no good and this quarter final could come down to which team keeps a clean sheet at home. Considering United’s propensity to concede goals in major games, I’m not too confident about their ability to sit back and defend an away goal lead.
For United to win, they’ll have to attack and dismantle Roma in Rome, before using the return fixture at Old Trafford to complete a routine victory.
They are capable of it, but recent form and history points to gnawed nerves, a scrappy 1-1 draw at Stadio Olimpicio and another penalty-driven 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
Roma vs Manchester United – Video Preview
A kind soul (my guess is he’s a Roma / Totti fan) has put together a trailer previewing the Roma – Man Utd clash. Take a look: