Roma 2-0 CSKA Sofia: Rejuvenated Romans Cruise Past Bulgarians
Roma were desperate to bounce back from their failure to win in the opening round of matches at Basel, and they were successful in their quest, after accounting for CSKA Sofia 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Giallorossi immediately made their intentions clear, as they dominated the opening 10 minutes of play, with an extremely aggressive brand of football. Alessio Cerci had the first shot of the night, however his left-footed volley flew inches wide of the target.
Despite their dominance, the hosts were unable to break down the resolute Bulgarian defence that held firm until the 20th minute, when Stefano Okaka finally broke the deadlock after beating the offside trap, to deservedly hand the Italians the lead.
The Romans doubled their advantage just three minutes later, when Simone Perrotta latched onto the end of a great ball by David Pizarro, and coolly slid it past a hapless Ivan Karadzhov, making the visitors’ task all the more difficult.
CSKA’s best chance of the first half came soon after, when Ivan Stoyanov saw an effort beat the home ‘keeper Julio Sergio, but his shot was cleared off the line by the former Liverpool man John Arne Riise, allowing the Giallorossi to maintain control for the remainder of the opening period.
Claudio Ranieri opted to replace the birthday boy Mirko Vucinic with Jeremy Menez at the break, whilst the visitors introduced a third striker in the early stages of the second half. It did little to change the momentum in the match though, as the Giallorossi continued to dominate and dictate the play.
The substitute Menez and the scorer of the first goal Okaka had great opportunities to hit a third for the home side, before Cerci squandered the best opportunity of the second half, after heading a perfect ball in by Riise inches wide of the target on 67 minutes.
The Bulgarians threw everything they had at I Lupi in the closing stages but the hosts easily managed to hold on, and recorded their first victory in Group E.