Cluj claim Roma shock
CFR Cluj made a dream start to their debut Champions League campaign by coming from behind to win at Roma.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 16/09/08 10:28pm
CFR Cluj made a dream start to their debut UEFA Champions League campaign by coming from behind to win 2-1 at Roma.
Christian Panucci claimed a 17th-minute opener for Roma, who have reached the Champions League quarter-finals the last two years.
But Juan Culio equalised in the 27th minute before the Argentinian midfielder scored again in the 49th minute to stun the hosts and give the Romanian champions a thoroughly-deserved victory in the Stadio Olimpico.
Roma vowed not to underestimate the Champions League debutants and seemed on course for a comfortable win after making a professional start.
The Italians have a host of injury problems but were boosted by the inclusion of striker Mirko Vucinic, who tested Eduard Stancioiu with an eighth-minute free-kick before clipping the ball over the Cluj goalkeeper to hit a post in the 15th minute.
Midfielder Daniele De Rossi was also passed fit and it was he that made the opening goal, winning the ball back off Culio deep on the right and crossing for Roma captain Panucci to head past a stranded Stancioiu at the near post.
Roma failed to maintain their early momentum, though, with Doni having to tip over a long-range effort by Sebastian Dubarbier while Culio and Alvaro Pereira fired off target from distance.
Threat on break
But Culio found his range shortly after, playing a one-two with Eugen Trica before smashing the ball left-footed into the far corner from the edge of the box.
Although Roma enjoyed most of the possession, Cluj were a constant threat on the break and Dani's 20-yard strike forced Doni to save low to his right shortly before the break.
Panucci hobbled off at half-time and, despite re-emerging for the second half, the Roma defender was forced off just two minutes after the restart.
And Cluj took advantage before Roma managed to regroup, with Culio volleying home from 12 yards after Marco Cassetti headed out Dani's right-wing cross.
Roma coach Luciano Spalletti responded by throwing star striker Francesco Totti into the fray for left-back John Arne Riise having not been fit enough to start.
Cluj were the next to go close, though, as Gabriel Muresan curled a free-kick narrowly wide, before Totti had a header deflected over at the other end.
De Rossi sent a long-range strike just wide in the 64th minute as Roma began to put Cluj under sustained pressure, with Totti having a strong penalty appeal turned down before failing to direct a free header goalwards
But Cluj almost sealed it in the 71st minute when substitute Sixto Peralta was left completely unmarked to head Tony's right-wing cross against the crossbar and a De Rossi strike straight at Stancioiu was the best Roma could muster before being booed off by a meagre home crowd.
|Roma||Team Statistics||CFR Cluj|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|3||Shots on Target||8|
|8||Shots off Target||8|