Brighi brace sends Roma top
Roma are in a commanding position to progress from Group A after a 3-1 win away to CFR Cluj.
Last Updated: 26/11/08 10:14pm
Roma are in a commanding position to progress from Group A of the UEFA Champions League after a 3-1 win away to CFR Cluj.
Matteo Brighi scored a goal in each half for the visitors, who were given a stiff examination by a lively Cluj side during the first period.
Francesco Totti's excellent free-kick had built on Brighi's opener before Yssouf Kone pulled one back for the Romanians before half-time.
But Brighi's second goal of the night on 64 minutes put the game to bed and ensured Cluj will not even have the consolation of the Uefa Cup to look forward to in the spring.
Cluj, needing to win to boost their European hopes, started brightly and created the first chance after five minutes when Kone's well-struck shot was beaten away by Doni.
But Roma took the lead from their first serious attack as Cluj keeper Eduard Stancioiu was slow to come off his line, allowing Simone Perrotta to lift the ball across the face of goal where Brighi was waiting to tap into an empty net.
The Romanians were playing the better football, though, and carved out another opening on 19 minutes when Eugen Trica screwed his shot wide at the far post after persistent work from Sebastian Dubarbier.
Midway through the first half and Roma had increased their lead when Totti curled home a fine free-kick from 25 yards after Julio Baptista had been fouled.
Cluj did not buckle and grabbed a lifeline on the half-hour mark when Doni could only push Alvaro Pereira's stabbed shot into the path of Kone, who stooped to head home inside the post.
The hosts continued to knock the ball around at will and only good defending by Philippe Mexes denied Kone at the near post after Juan Culio had seized on a weak header from Juan.
Cluj almost scored inside the opening minute of the second half when the impressive Pereira burst down the left flank and his cross was glanced wide by Kone.
But Cluj's threat gradually faded and Roma killed the game off on 64 minutes when Brighi controlled Rodrigo Taddei's pass and finished beyond Stancioiu following a flowing move from the Italians.
Baptista was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after appearing to be bundled over by Cadu before the Brazilian striker drove a late shot wide.
Roma substitute Mirko Vucinic had two late attempts saved, but it made little difference as Luciano Spalletti's men comfortably saw out the game to go top of Group A.
|CFR Cluj||Team Statistics||Roma|
|1||1st Half Goals||2|
|7||Shots on Target||5|
|9||Shots off Target||6|