Roma on rise as Batistuta seals baptism with strike

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The Independent Football

Roma beat Nova Gorica of Slovenia 7-0 at the Olympic Stadium yesterday for a two-leg aggregate of 11-1 to move into the second round of the Uefa Cup.

Roma beat Nova Gorica of Slovenia 7-0 at the Olympic Stadium yesterday for a two-leg aggregate of 11-1 to move into the second round of the Uefa Cup.

Roma, under pressure after being eliminated from the Italian Cup by the Serie A newcomers Atalanta last Friday, silenced the initial jeers of 5,000 fans with a goal by the Argentine defender Walter Samuel in the eighth minute.

Samuel's left-footed shot was slightly deflected by the striker Vincenzo Montella, who then made the scoreline 3-0 with goals in the 11th and 18th minutes.

Marco Delvecchio, fed by his Brazilian team-mate Cafu, added the fourth in the 22nd minute, and the Roma captain, Francesco Totti, scored the fifth late in the first half and headed the sixth in the 48th minute.

Totti was later replaced by the Japanese striker Hidetoshi Nakata, who has just returned from the Olympic Games in Sydney, while the Argentine striker Gabriel Batistuta made a debut with the Roman team in the second half, scoring the seventh goal - his first with his new team - in the 64th minute.

Batistuta, signed from Fiorentina in the off season, was returning from a knee injury which had kept him out at the start of the new campaign.

Roma's easy victory was the perfect warm-up for Sunday's match against Bologna in the opening round of the Italian League fixtures.

On the international front, France, the world and European champions, have called up five players who did not take part in Euro 2000 for friendlies against Cameroon in Paris and South Africa in Johannesburg next week.

The Paris St Germain goalkeeper Lionel Letizi, the Monaco defenders Martin Djetou and Philippe Christanval, the Real Madrid midfielder Clauke Makelele and the PSG striker Laurent Robert are in a 20-man squad.

The defender Laurent Blanc and the France captain Didier Deschamps retired after the friendly against England earlier this month. Chelsea's Marcel Desailly will take the captain's armband.

"This is not the beginning of a new era," the France coach, Roger Lemerre, said. "France existed before the European Championship and it will have a life after.

"There is continuity but it's obvious with the retirements [of Deschamps and Blanc] there is room for new players. It's up to them to grab the opportunity. I want the guys to display their will to play for France."

The Bordeaux striker Christophe Dugarry, who is out with a rib injury, Arsenal's Robert Pires, Parma's Johan Micoud, Middlesbrough's Christian Karembeu and the Stade Rennes goalkeeper Bernard Lama are also missing.

"Dugarry and Pires are injured, so they are not on my list," Lemerre said. "About Micoud, he has just started with Parma and I want to know a little bit more. Karembeu is different matter. I was eager to see something different in the midfield after Euro 2000 and this is the reason why I called [him] up."

The Portugal coach, Antonio Oliveira, has recalled the midfielders Bino, Rui Bento and Sergio Conceicão, along with the striker Pauleta, to his squad for next month's World Cup qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland in Lisbon on 7 October and the Netherlands four days later in Amsterdam.

Injuries have ruled out Paulo Sousa and Costinha from the Group Two ties, which follow a 3-1 away victory over Estonia earlier this month. The Porto defender Fernando Nelson has been replaced in defence by his team-mate Carlos Secretario.

FRANCE SQUAD (Friendlies v Cameroon, Paris, 4 October; v South Africa, Johannesburg, 7 October): Goalkeepers: Barthez (Manchester Utd), Ramé (Bordeaux), Letizi (Paris St-Germain). Defenders: Candela (Roma), Lizarazu (Bayern Munich), Leboeuf, Desailly (Chelsea), Thuram (Parma), Christanval (Monaco), Djetou (Monaco). Midfielders: Vieira (Arsenal), Petit (Barcelona), Makelélé (Real Madrid), Djorkaeff (Kaiserslautern), Zidane (Juventus). Forwards: Anelka, Robert (Paris St-Germain), Henry, Wiltord (Arsenal), Trézéguet (Juventus).

PORTUGAL SQUAD (World Cup qualifiers v Republic of Ireland, Lisbon, 7 October; v Netherlands, Amsterdam, 11 October): Goalkeepers: Espinha (Porto), Quim (Braga). Defenders: Jorge Costa (Porto), Rui Jorge (Sporting Lisbon), Fernando Couto (Lazio), Dimas (Sporting Lisbon), Beto (Sporting Lisbon), Carlos Secretario (Porto). Midfielders: Sergio Conceicão (Parma), Vidigal (Napoli), Figo (Real Madrid), Rui Costa (Fiorentina), Simão (Barcelona), Meira (Benfica), Bino (Sporting Lisbon), Rui Bento (Boavista). Forwards: João Pinto (Sporting Lisbon), Sa Pinto (Sporting Lisbon), Pauleta (Bordeaux), Nuno Capucho (Porto).