Chelsea go down in Rome
Chelsea suffered the first loss of their Champions League campaign after going down 3-1 to Roma.
By Steve Pass
Last Updated: 04/11/08 10:35pm
Chelsea suffered the first loss of their UEFA Champions League campaign after going down 3-1 to Roma in the Stadio Olimpico.
Last season's Champions League finalists dominated proceedings before conceding a soft goal in the 34th minute after a Roma free-kick was fed to Cicinho on the right who crossed to allow Christian Panucci to tap the ball in unmarked as the Blues' defence was static.
Roma then got the crucial second goal soon after the re-start when Matteo Brighi found Mirko Vucinic just outside the box and he made no mistake with a great strike into the right corner on 48 minutes.
Ten minutes later, Vucinic then mugged John Obi Mikel in the Roma half and ran to the Chelsea box before beating Mikel again and coolly slotting home past Petr Cech for the third.
John Terry got a consolation in the 75th minute before Deco was harshly sent off for a second bookable offence after taking a free-kick too quickly.
The result means Group A is now very tight, with Chelsea leading by just a point from Roma and Bordeaux, where they visit next.
A cagey start by both sides was brought to an end when Deco tried his luck from 25 yards but the Chelsea midfielder was thwarted by a fine save from Doni.
Moments later Vucinic was just off target with an 18-yard volley that failed to trouble Petr Cech.
A clever run down the left flank by Florent Malouda should have resulted in a clear opening for Nicolas Anelka but the Chelsea striker just failed to connect with his pass.
Chelsea were having the best of the opening exchanges Frank Lampard and Deco controlling the game in midfield.
Another run down the left by Malouda provided Deco with a chance to open the scoring but this time his 20-yard effort was deflected for a corner.
But for all their initial domination, the English side could not convert their superiority into goals.
Lampard forced Doni into a fine save by his near post when he let fly from 20 yards in the 21st minute.
On the half-hour Deco set up Lampard for another shot on goal but the England midfielder was again denied by the agility of Doni in the Roma goal.
Roma had posed little threat to the English side but a poor pass from Mikel forced Deco to bring down Francesco Totti, resulting in a yellow card for the midfielder.
Chelsea paid a heavy price for Deco's actions as Roma went ahead in the 33rd minute through former Blue Panucci.
Cicinho's cross from the right wing eluded everyone and Panucci reacted first to sweep the ball into the net beyond Cech from close-range.
It was a goal completely against the run of play but struggling Roma took heart from their good fortune and began to boss the game.
In the 37th minute another crude challenge by Mikel, this time on Brighi gave Roma another chance to increase their advantage but Cech saved well from Totti.
Malouda then wasted a chance to level the scores when, two minutes later, he sent his effort wide of the target from 20 yards.
Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari made two changes at half-time with Joe Cole and Malouda replaced by Didier Drogba and Juliano Belletti.
But the changes had little time to take effect before Vucinic put Roma two in front three minutes after the re-start.
The Roma midfielder took a short pass from Brighi and sent a rising 25-yard drive into the net beyond the despairing Cech.
Roma went three in front in the 58th minute when Mikel made another astonishing error. The Nigerian lost the ball to Vucinic, who ran the length of the Chelsea half, beat the retreating Mikel again, and fired home beyond Cech.
In the 62nd minute Chelsea replaced Jose Bosingwa with Salomon Kalou in a vain attempt to haul themselves back into the game.
In the 66th minute, Drogba sent a long-range free-kick straight into the arms of Doni.
But Chelsea finally reduced the arrears when captain Terry tucked the ball home from close range after Deco's shot had been deflected into his path.But the night got worse for Chelsea when Deco was sent off for a second bookable offence with 10 minutes remaining.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||7|
|5||Shots off Target||8|