AS Roma won 2-1 at Club Brugge KV to not only establish a considerable advantage in this UEFA Cup Round of 32 tie but further boost confidence ahead of a weekend fixture which could see the Giallorossi equal a long-standing Serie A record.
Luciano Spalletti's side are flying at the moment, and having already knocked league leaders Juventus out of the Coppa Italia they are striving to make it a cup double by lifting this crown in Eindhoven on 10 May. A 74th-minute winner from Simone Perrotta at the Jan Breydelstadion tonight moved them a step closer to that latter goal, but their more immediate concern is defeating Empoli FC on Sunday to become only the fourth Italian team, and first since Bologna FC in 1964, to win ten successive Serie A matches.
De Rossi dismissed
Roma did not have it all their own way at the home of the Belgian champions, however, as their 22-year-old midfielder Daniele De Rossi was shown a straight red card in the 27th minute after being adjudged to have elbowed an opponent in the face. Club Brugge had also lost a key player of their own by that point, with goalkeeper Stijn Stijnen having come on to replace the injured Tomislav Butina, but the substitute could do little to prevent the visitors from taking the lead in the 44th minute as defender Günther Vanaudenaerde headed a Christian Panucci cross into his own net.
Club Brugge clawed themselves back into the game and a minute past the hour Spanish striker Javier Portillo dispossessed Olivier Dacourt on the edge of the Roma box and drilled in a fine equaliser. Their joy lasted only 15 minutes as the home defence failed to clear a corner and Perrotta struck from close range, although Roma had a lucky escape in the final seconds as Portillo headed against the post with Gianluca Curci beaten.