AS Roma shrugged off their troubles in emphatic style, defeating ten-man Chelsea FC 3-1 at the Stadio Olimpico to reinvigorate their hopes of reaching the knockout stages from Group A.
A first-half goal from former Chelsea player Christian Panucci and two stunning Mirko Vučinić strikes gave the Italian side a deserved three points to lift them within a point of the visitors at the top of the section. Chelsea, suffering only their second defeat under Luiz Felipe Scolari and a first for an English club in this season's UEFA Champions League, found a consolation goal through John Terry before an increasingly frustrating performance was completed by Deco's late dismissal.
Rain in Rome
Despite a heavy downpour before kick-off, there was plenty of attractive football in the opening exchanges. At the heart of things early on, Deco fired the first shot in anger on ten minutes, moving into oceans of space 25 metres out before letting fly to force Doni into a fingertip save. Just as they had done at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago, Roma appeared happy to play on the counter. From one move, captain Francesco Totti, who had passed a late fitness test, flicked the ball to Vučinić but the Montenegrin's opportunist volley cleared Petr Čech and the bar by a metre.
Yet the visitors remained in control, and had three chances to open the scoring in as many minutes midway through the half. First Deco and then Florent Malouda saw goal-bound shots deflected wide before a low, long-range effort from Frank Lampard stung the right hand of Doni. On the half-hour mark it was the Brazilian goalkeeper's left hand which denied the Chelsea midfielder after a rasping right-footed drive, again from distance. Roma were looking like a team that had lost their last five matches but that all changed after they struck first after a well-worked free-kick on 34 minutes. Cicinho, receiving the ball out wide, crossed first time for Panucci, who side-footed in having been left all alone in front of Čech.
With players and fans alike visibly lifted, Roma were soon playing with the confidence that had eluded them all season. Three minutes into the second half played the Giallorossi were two up. Totti and Matteo Brighi exchanged passes before the latter teed up Vučinić to drill a fierce shot to the left of the diving Čech from outside the box. The 25-year-old's second goal, ten minutes later, was equally special as Vučinić dispossessed John Mikel Obi midway inside his own half and ran a full 70 metres before beating the Nigerian a second time and, finally, wrong-footing Čech at the near post to make it 3-0.
Chelsea were given a glimmer of hope with 15 minutes to go when Terry prodded home from close in after Deco's shot had fallen his way, but it was not enough and five minutes later the Portuguese received his second yellow card to complete a miserable night for the visitors.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.