Roma back from the brink
Mirko Vucinic and Julio Baptista revived Roma's Champions League hopes with victory over Bordeaux.
By Pete Oliver
Last Updated: 01/10/08 10:03pm
Birthday boys Mirko Vucinic and Julio Baptista revived AS Roma's UEFA Champions League hopes as the Italians came from behind to win 3-1 in Bordeaux.
After a shock opening day defeat to CFR Cluj in Group A, Roma were in trouble again before Vucinic and substitute Baptista, with two goals, scored in the second half to kill off 10-men Bordeaux, who remain pointless.
Bordeaux looked comfortable when they led through an early strike from on-loan AC Milan midfielder Yoann Gourcuff, but after Henrique was sent off Roma took their chance with three goals in 19 minutes.
Vucinic started the fightback on his 25th birthday before Baptista celebrated his 27th birthday with a quick-fire double which keeps last season's quarter-finalists in with a chance of qualification as they prepare for a double-header against Chelsea.
Bordeaux, unbeaten in the Stade Chaban Delmas this season, had made an impressive start with Jussie constantly stretching the Roma defence and the Brazilian had the first chance of the game when he played a one-two with Chamakh before shooting at Doni.
And Jussie also had a hand in the opening goal as the French side deservedly went ahead. Retrieving a poor headed clearance from Philippe Mexes, Jussie laid the ball off for Gourcuff who cut in and sent a perfect angled drive across Doni into the bottom corner.
Roma struggled to make any sort of an impression as an attacking force and put any pressure on Champions League debutant Mathieu Valverde in the Bordeaux goal, with the nearest they came to a first-half equaliser a long-range effort from former Liverpool left-back John Arne Riise which flew just wide.
However, the turning point came when Bordeaux were reduced to 10 men after 36 minutes when central defender Henrique was sent off for putting an arm across the face of Simone Perrotta following a Gourcuff free-kick.
Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc was forced into a double change as he sent on Marc Planus to replace Henrique in the back four and also had to replace the injured Jussie with Wendel, who headed wide just before the break.
Knowing they could not afford a second defeat in the competition, Roma coach Luciano Spalletti belatedly introduced a second striker when he replaced Jeremy Menez with Baptista to offer some much needed support for Vucinic six minutes into the second half.
Despite no obvious improvement in their performance and a flurry of yellow cards to show for their frustration the Italians equalised after 64 minutes when Vucinic headed a Daniele De Rossi past stranded keeper Valverde.
And seven minutes later Roma went ahead when Baptista scored the crucial second goal with a superbly taken free-kick which he lifted over the wall and into the top corner from 23 yards.With Roma now in complete control, substitute Stefano Okaka Chuka should have added a third but Baptista did make sure when he slid in a cross from Rodrigo Taddei seven minutes from time.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|2||Shots on Target||3|
|4||Shots off Target||3|