AS Roma 1-1 Galatasaray SK
AS Roma remain at the head of Group B of the UEFA Champions League after a 1-1 home draw with Galatasaray SK, but they will have to wait until next week's game at Liverpool FC to secure their qualification for the quarter-finals after a night of frustration at the Olimpico stadium.
Italians fail to impress
The Italian champions had to come from behind to maintain their unbeaten run in the competition, which stretches back to Matchday Two, and after Cafu's equaliser at the start of the second half they rarely looked like breaking through again. They forced a great deal of pressure but their crossing left a lot to be desired and it was all a far cry from the spectacular events in the same stadium at the weekend when Roma beat S.S. Lazio, their city rivals, 5-1.
After his four-goal showing in that game, Vincenzo Montella kept his place in attack with Gabriel Batistuta forced to start on the bench. Montella received few chances to repeat his remarkable scoring feats and Batistuta hardly enjoyed better fortune.
Lead lost again
Galatasaray will consider it a point well-earned as it keeps their own qualifying prospects alive in a section in which just three points continues to separate the top team from that in fourth place. Yet this was the fourth time in five games that the Turkish team have thrown away the lead in a game and they will be reflecting on that on their journey back to Istanbul where they finish the group at home to FC Barcelona next week.
Totti sparks threat
Galatasaray were forced to resist pressure in the first half as Roma gradually got their game into some sort of order. After six minutes a wonderfully-flighted pass from Francesco Totti caught them napping at the back and Marco Delvecchio was able to get a shot in, although it flew wide.
Roma should have taken the lead in the 22nd minute as Vincent Candela and Delvecchio combined down the left. The cross drifted all the way to the far post where Cafu was waiting but, with the net stretching wide before him, he placed his header disappointingly high.
With Ümit Karan operating as a lone attacker, Galatasaray were finding it hard to impose themselves as an attacking force. A chance arrived for them via a free-kick and Francesco Antonioli was forced to plunge to his left to claw away Gustavo Victoria's effort.
Ümit does well
It was a major surprise then when Galatasaray went in front. Jonathan Zebina hit his clearance straight at an opponent and Ümit deserves great credit for the way he seized on the loose ball before stepping around one challenge and directing a low drive out of Antonioli's reach.
Aldair switch pays off
Roma coach Fabio Capello brought on Aldair at half-time and he had a major hand in the equaliser which arrived seven minutes into the second half. The Brazilian put over a long diagonal pass which Cafu controlled after Victoria failed to cut it out. With Faryd Mondragon a fraction off his line the full-back neatly lifted the ball over him and into the net.
Cafu and Totti come close
Cafu continued to carry the most threat and he was close to a second goal in the 69th minute, but drove over the angle of bar and post. Totti then unleashed a stinging drive which brought a desperate save from Mondragon. After that things became a little frenetic with neither side able to carve out any productive moves and it was Galatasaray who ended the game happiest with the outcome.