Roma 2 Middlesborough 1 (Agg 2-2, Boro win on away goals): McClaren's men march past Roma to last eight

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Middlesbrough overcame the challenge of Italian giants Roma last night to secure their place in the Uefa Cup quarter-finals. Although they lost 2-1 in the Stadio Olimpico, Boro progressed into the last eight on the away goals rule thanks to their 1-0 first-leg victory at the Riverside and a precious away strike on the night from their rejuvenated striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

The Middlesbrough manager, Steve McClaren, brought back his big guns as his side tried to book their place, with Gareth Southgate returning in defence, George Boateng and Gaizka Mendieta restored to midfield and Aiyegbeni Yakubu partnering Hasselbaink in attack.

McClaren's England colleague Sven Goran Eriksson was also in Rome to watch 21-year-old left-winger Stewart Downing continue his comeback after three months out after knee surgery. "He's a good player coming back from an injury. He can rejoin the team for the World Cup," Eriksson said before the game.

The England coach was joined in the arena by a 3,400-strong Middlesbrough contingent who arrived just before kick-off after being told to meet at the Villa Borghese to be escorted by police following the previous night's trouble in the city. The home side were on the offensive from the whistle and Southgate had to head away a dangerous Edgar Alvarez cross within seconds after Philippe Mexès had played him into space out wide.

The Teessiders were opened up again in the 18th minute when Perrotta's flick allowed Alvarez to cross again, but although Rodrigo Taddei dummied the ball to Mancini, he could not get his shot away as Andrew Davies closed him down.

But it was Boro who took the lead 13 minutes before the break from their first genuine attack. Eriksson will have watched happily as the lively Downing found just enough space on the left to cross superbly, and Hasselbaink got in front of Mexès to glance a header past Gianluca Curci. The travelling fans erupted into celebration, which drew a violent response from a minority of the home support, and riot police quickly broke up the scuffles.

The Serie A side gave themselves hope on 43 minutes when Taddei to set up Mancini, and he made no mistake to level the score.

McClaren replaced right-back Davies with specialist left-back Franck Queudrue at the break but it was down the Roma left that the next chance came for the hosts, with Mancini escaping from Queudrue and forcing a save from Mark Schwarzer from a tight angle.

Schwarzer rescued the visitors once again on 56 minutes after De Rossi found himself in front of goal with just the keeper to beat. Stefano Okaka Chuka replaced Dacourt just past the hour and had an immediate impact when he lured Ray Parlour into an untidy challenge, and the referee, Tom Ovrebo, pointed to the spot.

Mancini sent Schwarzer the wrong way to level the aggregate scores and leave Boro facing a desperately difficult last half hour, at the end of which Roma's French centre-half Mexès was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Roma (4-5-1): Curci; Kuffour, Bovo, Mexès, Chivu (Panucci, 86); Taddei, Alvarez (Aquilani, 72), Dacourt (Okaka Chuka, 63), De Rossi, Perrotta; Mancini. Substitutes not used: Eleftheropoulos (gk), Kharja, Cufre, Rosi.

Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Davies (Queudrue, h-t), Riggott, Southgate, Pogatetz; Mendieta, Boateng, Cattermole, Downing; Hasselbaink, Yakubu (Parlour, 59). Substitutes not used: Jones (gk), Ehiogu, Doriva, Viduka, Maccarone.

Referee: T Ovrebo (Norway).

Comments