United Roma Therapy

  • 3 October 2007

Wayne Rooney's first goal of the season fired Manchester United to victory against Roma at Old Trafford. Rooney broke the deadlock with a sharp 15-yard finish after he was set up by Nani to leave United three points clear at the top of Group F.

Both sides went into the game with stand-in goalkeepers - but neither was seriously tested with long-distance shots from Francesco Totti and Cristiano Ronaldo causing few alarms.

United - with Louis Saha starting a game for the first time since February - began passing the ball around crisply but Roma quickly smothered the Red Devils with Daniele de Rossi brilliantly screening the visiting defence.

United should have gone ahead on 33 minutes when Nani got round the back of the Roma defence only for a carefree Rooney to volley over from a good position. That apart, Sir Alex Ferguson will have been disappointed to see his side lacking momentum in wide positions with Ronaldo and Nani dropping deep far too often.

If United were too relaxed in the first period, they immediately threatened at the start of the second when a Ronaldo raid down the right was cleared by a relieved Phillipe Mexes in front of his own goal.

Alberto Aquilani fired another warning to United moments later when he fired narrowly wide from the edge of the box as the Italians sensed a goal was possible.

United were still struggling to get sufficient men forward with Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick content to sit deep in the crowded midfield and unable to make their mark on proceedings. Rooney produced a bright moment when he cut inside the left side of the Roma defence before unleashing a powerful low shot which Curci pushed away for a corner.

Rooney clinched victory 20 minutes from time with an exquisite finish to raise the roof off Old Trafford. Carrick found Nani and he cleverly played the ball through to Rooney who turned outside and found the net off the inside of the far post with a crisp 15-yard shot.

And United finished the game with 10 men after Cristiano Ronaldo left the field with a head wound which required four stitches.

Roma should have levelled three minutes from time when Totti played the ball back for Mauro Esposito, who carelessly blazed wide from 10 yards with United stretched at the back.

Man Utd: Kuszczak, O'Shea, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Nani (Giggs 79), Saha (Tevez 66), Rooney (Anderson 84).
Subs Not Used: Heaton, Pique, Simpson, Eagles.

Goal: Rooney 70.