AS Roma 0-3 Real Madrid CF
An exceptional attacking performance by Guti was the key to a 3-0 win for Real Madrid CF in their opening UEFA Champions League Group C game at AS Roma.
The home side had the lion's share of the attacking possession throughout the game and had their visitors looking genuinely rattled for long periods, but three goals against the run of play took the wind out of the Serie A side's sails and earned Madrid an emphatic win on their travels. In a game played at a terrific pace throughout, Fabio Capello's Roma made Madrid look ordinary for long periods, pressuring every ball and denying their opponents the space to play their legendary passing game.
Having seen an appeal for a penalty turned down after 20 minutes, and with both captain Damiano Tommasi and young striker Antonio Cassano passing up excellent opportunities just before the 40-minute mark, Roma had reason to believe they would be able to erase the memory of their 2-1 home defeat by Madrid in their opening Champions League game last season.
On the break
Sadly, they had not reckoned upon Madrid's guile and resilience, and after a Roma attacking move broke down on 41 minutes, they found themselves a goal down. Luis Figo charged out of his own half, fed the ball to Raúl González and watched in delight as the striker guided the ball to Guti, who beat Roma goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli with a superb curling shot.
However, if Roma's spirits had been crushed, it certainly did not show as they came out after the half-time interval and continued their determined assault on Iker Casillas's goal. The young goalkeeper was forced into action within a minute of the restart to deny Emerson, and with the pressure continuing to build and Madrid seemingly incapable of stringing passes together, an equaliser looked inevitable.
In fact the exact opposite happened and Madrid extended their lead in a rare spell of attacking pressure after 56 minutes. Guti drove towards goal and, finding himself swamped by Roma defenders on the edge of the penalty area, laid the ball off for Raúl who beat Antonioli with a fine low drive from 25 metres.
Still Roma pressed, with Casillas denying Cassano from close range after 60 minutes, but it was Guti again who provided the killer blow to any hopes of a revival, dancing through a clutch of Roma defenders on the edge of the penalty area after 74 minutes before flashing another low shot beyond the diving Antonioli and inside his left-hand post.
Figo goes close
With Roma and their supporters totally stunned, keeping their opponents at bay was a relatively simple task for Madrid for the remainder of the game, and Figo almost added insult to injury after 84 minutes with a terrific 25-metre drive which just cleared Antonioli's crossbar.