Muller 78, Klose 83
After a dismal start to the Serie A season, Roma were hoping to utilise last night’s Champions League clash with last season’s runners-up Bayern Munich as a firm distraction. However, despite a dogged display, Claudio Ranieri’s side fell to two late goals from Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose. Both sides fielded seven players from their respective countries, somewhat a rarity these days. Ranieri opted to start Aleandro Rosi in place of on-loan Parma full-back Paolo Castellini after his unimpressive display against Cagliari, and Bayern targeted his flank from the start.
Hamit Altintop hugged the left touchline in order to draw Rosi out of position but the right-back did a fine job in containing the Turk, continually forcing him inside onto his less favoured right foot. Despite dominating possession throughout the first half, Bayern were restricted to long-range efforts, none of which troubled Julio Sergio. In fact, it was Roma who went closest to taking the lead during a rare foray forward when Daniele De Rossi’s right-wing cross towards the onrushing Marco Boriello was deflected, almost beating Bayern goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt at his near post.
The pedestrian pace of the first half undoubtedly suited i Giallorossi more and Bayern boss Louis Van Gaal clearly gave his team a rocket in the dressing room as the Germans played at a much higher tempo after the break, with Alintop moving inside and Muller switching to the left. Nevertheless, Roma matched the Germans early on and when Francesco Totti flashed a quickly-taken corner across the six-yard box, Butt unconvincingly stuck out a right boot and was fortunate to divert it away from several lurking white shirts.
However, the tide turned and after 54 minutes Bayern forced the first serious save from Julio Sergio, who dived spectacularly to deny Toni Kroos from close range. Minutes later, Mark Van Bommel saw a shot blocked and the ball fell into the path of Muller, whose follow-up was smartly saved. Roma started to tire, causing them to sit deeper and leave too big a gap between the midfield and the front men, and Bayern’s pressure eventually paid off. A poor clearance from Nicolas Andres Burdisso only found Daniel Van Buyten on the edge of the area, and his cushioned header was volleyed spectacularly into the bottom left hand corner by Muller with the outside of his right boot.
With just 11 minutes remaining, Muller’s strike appeared a decisive one but Roma nearly equalised just a minute later with their best opportunity of the game. The Germans were caught napping as a hopeful ball upfield sent Boriello clear but his effort blocked by Butt. It proved costly as in the 83rd minute substitute Klose sealed the game for the hosts, stabbing home Holger Badstuber’s inswinging free-kick.
Bayern ultimately deserved the win but it was hard on i Giallorossi, who put up a valiant fight throughout. However, questions must be asked of Ranieri, who should have utilised his substitutes more effectively. Only one was used, Jeremy Menez replacing Totti on 82 minutes, despite Roma clearly tiring and needing fresh legs much earlier. On the plus side, progressing through the group stage has become a good habit for the capital club during the last decade, and after a more encouraging display, Roma should still be confident of progressing from Group E with two relative minnows in Romania’s CFR Cluj and Swiss outfit Basle for company.
Nevertheless, the focus must now return to matters in Serie A, and a home win against Bologna on Sunday is an absolute must.
27 Julio Sergio
87 Rosi- 4 Juan – 29 N. Burdisso – 77 Cassetti
33 Brighi – 16 De Rossi – 7 Pizarro – 20 Perrotta
10 Totti – 22 Borriello
79 – 94 Menez on for 10 Totti