AS Roma secured a firm grip on second place in Group D by taking three vital points against Olympiacos CFP thanks to Simone Perrotta's solitary goal at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.
The Italy midfielder slid in substitute Aleandro Rosi's cross to break Olympiacos hearts and hand Roma their first UEFA Champions League away win in five matches following a tense encounter in the Greek capital. Trond Sollied's Olympiacos had the majority of the chances but were undone by a determined display by Luciano Spalletti's men, who will be confident about facing the Greek champions again on Matchday 4.
Roma had burst out of the blocks, forcing a corner in the first minute through Francesco Totti's raid down the right, and the Italian team continued to take the initiative by penning Olympiacos inside their own half. Indeed, it took Olympiacos ten minutes to register their first shot, Predrag Djordjević waking the home fans with a long-range effort over Doni's crossbar. Olympiacos then had the ball in the net after 28 minutes when striker Michalis Konstantinou prodded home after Georgios Anatolakis had hit the crossbar from close range. However, referee Graham Poll spotted a handball by Anatolakis and the goal was disallowed.
Roma midfielder Ricardo Faty shadowed Rivaldo in the first half and was instrumental in breaking up the home side's midfield moves. The Brazilian danger man finally broke free from Faty's shackles on the half-hour but his long-distance volley was comfortably gathered by Doni. Olympiacos winger Nery Alberto Castillo then showed a glimpse of his skill six minutes before half-time, drawing a fine diving save from Doni after a jinking run that took him past three Roma defenders.
Both teams looked tense after the break and began tentatively. After a sustained period of possession, however, Roma threatened from a corner ten minutes after the restart. The ball was worked into the centre and Totti got his first sight of goal but his snapshot flashed high over Antonios Nikopolidis's crossbar. Three minutes later, Cristian Chivu curled a left-footed strike goalwards but Nikopolidis was equal to it, acrobatically denying the Giallorossi defender.
Olympiacos created an opening at the other end on 69 minutes when Djordjević released substitute Miloš Marić, only for the midfielder to slice his shot just wide of Doni's right post with the keeper at full stretch. Instead, it was Roma who broke the deadlock in the 76th minute following a flowing move down the right. Totti held up play brilliantly before threading the ball through for the overlapping Rosi whose low centre was touched in by Perrotta. The largely ineffective Rivaldo was replaced by Félix Borja seven minutes from time as Sollied attempted to steal an equaliser but Roma hung on for a precious win.
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