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Mancini magic downs Madrid in Rome

AS Roma 2-1 Real Madrid CF
Mancini supplied the winning goal as the Giallorossi came from behind to edge an entertaining first-leg tie.

The Brazilian enjoys his goal with the crowd
The Brazilian enjoys his goal with the crowd ©Getty Images

AS Roma came from behind to record a first home win over Real Madrid CF, Mancini's second-half strike earning the Giallorossi a slender advantage to take to the Santiago Bernabéu for the conclusion of this first knockout round tie in a fortnight's time.

Trailing to Raúl González's eighth-minute goal, Luciano Spalletti's side levelled through David Pizarro midway through the first half before Mancini's winner raised their hopes of reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the second season running.

Madrid settle quickly
Madrid had prevailed on their three previous trips to Roma and the home fans in a freezing Stadio Olimpico could have been forgiven for fearing the worst when Raúl gave the visitors an early lead. Despite an injury list including Robinho, their joint-leading scorer in the group stage, Madrid settled quickly to their task and struck when Arjen Robben surged down the left and pulled the ball back to the edge of the box for Guti to take a first-time shot which Raúl – played onside by Pizarro – helped past Doni.

Roma reprieved
Although Marco Cassetti tested Iker Casillas low to his left moments later, Madrid had the ball in Roma's net again within two minutes but Ruud van Nistelrooy, burying the rebound after Doni had parried a Robben drive, was adjudged offside. There was another reprieve for the hosts on 21 minutes when the lively Robben got to the byline down the right and crossed for Raúl who aimed a free header wide of the far post.

Mancini threat
There had been much talk pre-match about Roma's recent dip in form and Francesco Totti, in particular, was slow to find his touch on a night when he surpassed Aldair's club record for appearances in Europe with his 65th. Instead their main threat came from Mancini and, after Simone Perrotta had failed to connect with the Brazilian's pull-back, his next ball into the box led to Pizarro's equalising goal after 24 minutes. Although Fernando Gago turned Mancini's centre away from Totti, the ball went only as far as Pizarro. The Chilean's shot was hard and low but deflected off Gago and flew high past Casillas.

Totti class tells
Madrid still looked the more fluent side as half-time approached, Raúl sliding a ball through to Van Nistelrooy who fired wide on the stretch. Come the second period, though, it was Roma who seized the initiative with Totti the architect of their second goal in the 58th minute. The No10's class told as he collected a high ball under pressure from Gabriel Heinze, span away from the Argentinian and threaded a perfectly-weighted pass through to Mancini. After sidestepping the onrushing Casillas, Mancini slipped the ball into the empty net.

Hanging on
Sergio Ramos blazed wide of the near post from 20 metres almost immediately and Roma were soon defending in numbers as Bernd Schuster's team sought a reply. It took a superb interception from Juan to stop Raúl converting the rebound after Doni had spilled a Robben cross and, from the resulting corner, Perrotta bravely got his head in the way of Mahamadou Diarra's piledriver. Madrid went even closer in the 80th minute when Van Nistelrooy lashed the ball against the near post but Roma held on.