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Roma's Brighi bids to star in CFR sequel

Midfielder Matteo Brighi said his two-goal performance the last time AS Roma visited CFR 1907 Cluj was "among the high points" of his career as he aims to play a similar starring role in Group E.

Matteo Brighi celebrates making it 3-1 in Cluj-Napoca two years ago
Matteo Brighi celebrates making it 3-1 in Cluj-Napoca two years ago ©Getty Images

Having scored twice in a 3-1 win the last time AS Roma visited CFR 1907 Cluj, midfielder Matteo Brighi hopes to get the chance to play a similar starring role in UEFA Champions League Group E this time around.

The last time the two teams met at the Stadionul Dr Constantin Rădulescu the situation was similar, albeit one matchday earlier in the 2008/09 season; Roma were bidding to qualify while CFR were propping up the section on four points, one more than they have now. Brighi gave the visitors an early lead that night and then hit Roma's third in the second half to secure a 3-1 win and a big step toward the knockout stages.

"It was among the high points of my career," remembered the 29-year-old midfielder. "It helped relaunch my career at this level and with the national team so obviously that memory gives me confidence."

A repeat of that result – or indeed a draw – would safeguard Roma's passage out of Group E along with group winners FC Bayern München. For Brighi, though, being selected is the first battle; he has started on the bench in four of Roma's last seven games.

"If I am playing, I hope I will repeat my performance of two years ago," said. "Our group here is very mature, more mature than it may seem, and everyone understands the position we're in and the risks of not being selected when they sign for this club.

"No one likes not playing, but Roma are a big team and that is a risk for everyone," he added. "Every player accepts the coach's decisions. I'm thinking about this game in terms of the best interests of my club because it's very important that we claim second place in the group and progress further."