Off to the Stadio Olympico for what turned out to be a disastrous night in Rome
Round two of our battle with Roma who set up with a front two this time as opposed to a back eight that they offered at the Bridge. For our part, its Bridge and Alex in for Ash and Rickey, Drogs is on the bench but Joe Cole starts alongside Anelkea and Malouda.The opening exchanges are pretty equal but the Blues are shooting on site with Deco, Malouda and Lamps all going close in the first 20mins. Deco and Lamps combine nicely on 29mins and Lamps draws a good save from Doni with a swerving drive. But the opening goal goes to Roma on 36mins against the run of play. Deco gives away a free kick that is simply pushed wide for Cicinho to cross in to the box and Panucci just walked the ball past Cech. Now we have a real game on. Mikel releases Maoluda on 39mins with a pass that splits the Roma defence but his shot is high and wide when Lamps and Cole were better placed but Roma are playing better now and not sitting back at all. The half end 1 -0 to Roma and there's work to do !
Changes for the second half with Belletti and Drogs on for Malouda and Joe Cole (cant believe that - Anleka has done nothing so far) but it looks like 4-4-2 with Belletti on one side and Deco on the other. It makes no difference as within 3mins its 2-0 as Vucinic buries one past Cech from the edge of the box. Roma set up with two banks of four as they defend their lead but there's no need as, on 58mins, Mikel losses out to Vucinic who runs half the length of the pich and then strokes the ball past Cech. Its 3-0 and game over as the Blues press forward but they are leaving themselves open at the back. Baptiste comes on for Totti on the hour and Kalou replaces Bosingwa at wide right as Belletti goes to right back in a return to 4-3-3 but it makes little difference as Roma soak up the pressure and then look to break. On 75mins we get our frst lucky break as a Deco shot looks to bounce back off JT's arm but nothings given so JT passes it into an empty net for 3 -1, surely no heroic come back ? Well not at this rate as on 80mins the ref books Deco for a second time for taking a quick free kick even though no advantage was gained - absolute refereeing insanity ! and fortunately the last meaningfully action on an awful night for the Blues.
So much for booking hotels in Rome :-)