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Ruthless Roma reach last eight

Published: Wednesday 7 March 2007, 0.52CET
Olympique Lyonnais 0-2 AS Roma (agg: 0-2) First-half goals from Francesco Totti and Mancini took Roma into a first UEFA Champions League quarter-final.
by Matthew Spiro
from Stade de Gerland
Published: Wednesday 7 March 2007, 0.52CET

Ruthless Roma reach last eight

Olympique Lyonnais 0-2 AS Roma (agg: 0-2) First-half goals from Francesco Totti and Mancini took Roma into a first UEFA Champions League quarter-final.

AS Roma qualified for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time as a masterful display of counterattacking football earned a decisive victory at the home of Olympique Lyonnais.

Decisive first half
Clinical first-half strikes from Francesco Totti and Mancini were enough to end Lyon's hopes and thus break an unbeaten home record in the competition stretching back to 2002. Having been held to a goalless draw a fortnight ago, the French champions, bidding to reach the last eight for the fourth year running, knew they could ill afford to concede first and appeared nervous throughout. Although Roma goalkeeper Doni made a string of saves in the second period, Lyon were far from their best and an impressively resolute Roma ran out deserved winners.

Slow start
Lyon signalled their intentions early as Juninho Pernambucano surged through midfield and unleashed a dipping shot that Doni could not hold, forcing Philippe Mexes to make a timely intervention. As in the first leg, the game struggled to settle into a rhythm and although both teams threatened from set-pieces, there was little flow to proceedings. The visitors had the ball in the net from their first corner on six minutes but Daniele De Rossi's close-range header was ruled out for a push by Totti. At the other end, Sébastien Squillaci nodded Juninho's free-kick tamely at Doni, before Sidney Govou directed a corner from the Brazilian over the bar.

Totti breakthrough
Lyon were producing little from open play, as David Pizarro and De Rossi stamped their authority on midfield and Cristian Chivu, back in the side from injury, stuck closely to Fred. Indeed, it came as little surprise when Roma scored the opening goal of the tie on 22 minutes. Max Tonetto raced beyond Anthony Réveillère on the left and delivered a perfect cross for Totti who, after ghosting between Squillaci and Cris, headed powerfully past Grégory Coupet.

Mancini magic
The strike sent a chill around Stade de Gerland and Lyon, unbeaten at home in 18 European matches, looked for an instant response. Juninho centred for Tiago on 27 minutes but the Portuguese headed over, then Squillaci failed to get his shot away from close range following a goalmouth scramble. The Italian outfit, however, continued to threaten on the counterattack and doubled their lead a minute before half-time, Mancini expertly dribbling past Réveillère and drilling a ferocious shot into the top corner.

Doni excels
Lyon coach Gérard Houllier sent on Kim Källström and Sylvain Wiltord at half-time, and the move almost paid instant dividends as Tiago's pass sent Wiltord clear but Doni raced off his line to block. That chance sparked the first spell of genuine Lyon pressure but Doni was in inspired mood, pushing Juninho's effort wide and producing a stunning fingertip save on the hour to prevent Källström's sizzling half-volley reaching the top corner.

Pizarro suspension
Lyon failed to sustain the pressure, however, and apart from one cross-shot from substitute Karim Benzema that flashed wide, Doni was not tested further. Roma finished the tie in complete control although their joy was tempered slightly by a late yellow card for Pizarro that will keep the midfielder out of the first leg of the quarter-final.

Last updated: 07/03/07 11.44CET

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