Would you believe it if I told you both Roma goalscorers (Vucinic & Julio Baptista) celebrated their birthday today? Seriously, no lie! And what better gift to themselves (and Spalletti), than to carry their team to victory on Bordeaux soil after trailing by one in the first half? You just can’t make that sh** up… talk about a perfect day huh?
The Giallorossi party shouldn’t go on for too long though. Getting the first three UCL points of the season was important today, but there’s still a looooot of work to be done by Luciano Spalletti: there’s just something missing from this team (as today’s first 60 minutes demonstrated). And yes, it may be as simple as getting capitan Totti back…
If there were such things as “Man of the Half” awards, Yoann Gourcuff would get it today. The ex-Milan player, who for over a year played the inconvenient role of underachiever in Italy, seems to have been transformed since his arrival in Gironde. Manager Laurent Blanc (who knows Italian teams well, having played at Napoli and Inter Milan) essentially elected the French youngster as key playmaker today (alongside another ex-Serie A player, Fernando Menegazzo, and in support of lone striker Marouane Chamakh), and the Bordeaux midfielder executed the boss’s orders to perfection.
Present virtually everywhere on the field (including the defensive zone), Gourcuff started dishing out passes, crosses, and shots left & right. The first goal of the game in particular, was a well-executed 20m effort that caught the Roma defense unprepared and with their pants down. The kind Rossoneri supporters would like to have seen earlier last season, but which Gourcuff patiently waited until now to display. 1-0 Bordeaux.
With 30 minutes left to play in the first half, you would have thought the goal would have a kick-in-the-pants effect for Roma. Alas… not really. The only notable Giallorossi highlight in fact, was a Jon Arne Riise long-range piledriver on set pieces, that the Norwegian wing-back put narrowly wide of the Bordeaux goal. Not enough to scare the home team.
No, in fact all the “scary” stuff was left to referee Alberto Mallenco, who in minute 36 decided to send off Bordeaux’s Carlos Henrique for a elbow on Simone Perrotta. Replays showed that although the center back’s arm was directed toward Perrotta, there seemingly was no contact between the two players. Ironically though, Bordeaux came very close to increasing their lead to 2-0 and this despite their one-man disadvantage, Geraldo Wendel narrowly heading wide another good delivery by Gourcuff. 1-0 at the half.
In the second period, Spalletti sounded the charge in the changing room & on the field, replacing Ménez and Aquilani with Julio Baptista and Stefano Okaka. Roma needed to catch a break, which promptly arrived in minute 64. Anticipating both the keeper and his marker, Mirko Vucinic’s header connected with a DDR corner-kick to send the ball into the back of the Bordeaux net. 1-1, with a net shift if the match’s momentum.
Indeed, just over 5 minutes after the equalizer, Roma grabbed the lead for the first time thanks to a marvelous free-kick execution of Julio Baptista: 20m, curling shot over the wall and into the top-right corner. Totti-esque. 2-1 Roma.
Later still, the ex-Real Madrid and Arsenal player repeated himself, finalizing a beautiful Vucinic-Taddei combination and deflecting the latter’s cross into the open goal. Just minutes earlier, Okaka had blown another good opportunity in front of Valverde to make it three. 3-1 Roma.
It was the liberating goal for the Giallorossi, who could now breathe a sign of relief and enjoy their first points of the 2008-09 UCL campaign. Baptista’s and Vucinic’s night’s gonna be a long one…
|GOALSCORERS: 18’ Gourcuff (B), 64’ Vucinic (R), 71’, 83’ J.Baptista (R).
| BORDEAUX (4-1-4-1): Valverde – Chalmé, Henrique, Diawara, Jurietti (78’ Gouffran) – A.Diarra – Menegazzo, Obertan (40′ Planus), Gourcuff, Jussie (37′ Wendel); Chamakh. (bench: Olimpia, Ducasse, Cavenaghi, Bellion). Coach. Blanc.
| ROMA (4-1-4-1): Doni – Cicinho, Mexès, Panucci, Riise – De Rossi – Taddei, Aquilani (63’ Okaka), Perrotta, Ménez (52’ J.Baptista) – Vucinic (85’ Brighi). (bench: Artur, Loria, Filipe, Montella). Coach: Spalletti.