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Middlesbrough rule in Rome

Published: Thursday 16 March 2006, 0.50CET
AS Roma 2-1 Middlesbrough FC
(agg: 2-2, Middlesbrough win on away goals)

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink ended the Giallorossi's hopes.
by Andrew Haslam
Published: Thursday 16 March 2006, 0.50CET

Middlesbrough rule in Rome

AS Roma 2-1 Middlesbrough FC
(agg: 2-2, Middlesbrough win on away goals)

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink ended the Giallorossi's hopes.

Middlesbrough FC reached the UEFA Cup quarter-finals for the first time after holding on to eliminate AS Roma on away goals, with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's first-half header at the Stadio Olimpico ultimately proving decisive.

Away goal
The English team travelled to Rome with a 1-0 advantage and took a firm grip on the Round of 16 tie in the 32nd minute when Hasselbaink nodded them in front. Mancini brought Roma back into the contest before half-time, however, and when the same player levelled the aggregate scores from the penalty spot just past the hour it ensured a tense finale, but Steve McClaren's side prevailed.

Early threat
The hosts began positively with Cesare Bovo a lively presence. The Italian Under-21 international came close to restoring overall parity midway through the opening period, dispossessing Stewart Downing on the edge of the area and unleashing a shot that struck the top of the crossbar. Rodrigo Taddei's pass then found Edgar Alvarez advancing on goal, but the Honduran midfielder dragged his effort wide.

Crucial strike
When a goal did arrive, however, it came at the other end as Downing swung in a cross that was met by Hasselbaink, who got in front of Philippe Mexes to direct his header beyond Gianluca Curci. This left Roma needing to score three times to stay in the competition, and Mancini revived their hopes on 43 minutes, applying a calm finish to Taddei's low centre after the Brazilian had broken down the left.

Schwarzer excellence
The goal visibly lifted the Giallorossi and visiting goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer was forced into three crucial saves early in the second half. The Australian twice blocked Mancini attempts - the second a remarkable stop from point-blank range - then produced another fine save to keep out Daniele De Rossi's shot. But he was powerless to prevent Mancini putting Roma in front from the spot six minutes past the hour, after substitute Ray Parlour was adjudged to have tripped Stefano Okaka Chuka.

Mexes off
The Serie A side continued to keep their Premiership counterparts on the back foot but struggled to create clear chances, with Schwarzer's parry from Mexes's downward header the closest they came. Roma finished with ten men following the Frenchman's dismissal for a second bookable offence, although McClaren's first-choice central midfielders, George Boateng and Lee Cattermole, will both miss the quarter-final first leg through suspension.

Last updated: 16/03/06 14.10CET

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