By DAN KARELL
AS Roma returned to the UEFA Champions League in style.
The Italian club, playing their first Champions League match since 2011, slammed home four goals in the first 30 minutes of the game before adding a fifth for good measure early in the second half, crushing CSKA Moscow, 5-1, at the Stadio Olimpico.
CSKA had no answer for Roma’s speed on the wings, as well as the finishing ability of Gervinho, substitute Alessandro Florenzi, and Juan Iturbe. The Argentine Iturbe needed just six minutes to put Roma on the board, taking a great pass from Gervinho before beating CSKA’s Igor Akinfeev with a low shot.
Gervinho was next to score, and this time Iturbe fed the Ivorian in the middle of the box before he poked home. Right back Maicon made it 3-0 in the 20th minute, firing a high shot that Akinfeev couldn’t parry away well before going in, and Gervinho added his second following a great cutback that took out his defender.
CSKA defender Sergei Ignashevich scored an own goal in the 50th minute to make it 5-0. Ahmed Musa finally broke CSKA’s duck in the 82nd minute, taking advantage of a Morgan De Santis mistake to poke home.
Here’s a closer look at the rest of Wednesday’s UCL action:
BOATENG’S LATE DAGGER SENDS MAN CITY HOME EMPTY HANDED
Manchester City were minutes away from leaving Germany with at least one point. That is, until Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng had something to say about it.
In the 89th minute of what had been a deadlocked battle between the English and German champions, Boateng fired a strike towards the far post that took a deflection off World Cup hero Mario Götze and found its way past the dive of Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart, giving Bayern the lead.
Bayern, who brought on Arjen Robben for the final 14 minutes plus stoppage time of the game, were able to hold on and take all three points in their first match of the Group Stage.
BARCELONA FAIL TO IMPRESS IN WIN VS. APOEL
Barcelona opened up their 2014/2015 Champions League campaign with a win, but failed to inflict more damage against a relative minnow in APOEL Nicosia of Cyprus.
A Gerard Pique header in the 23rd minute off a Lionel Messi taken free kick was all that Barcelona needed in their 1-0 victory at the Nou Camp, but more was likely expected with Neymar, Messi, and Xavi all in the starting lineup.
The game also marked the debut for Barcelona youngster Sergi Samper, who started as a holding midfielder and played the full 90 minutes.
CHELSEA FAIL TO WIN AT STAMFORD BRIDGE
The fortress that’s normally Stamford Bridge wasn’t so strong and mighty on Wednesday.
Down a goal in the second half, FC Schalke battled back and thanks to the hard work from Julian Draxler and goalscorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, the German club tied Chelsea on the road, 1-1.
Cesc Fabregas scored the opener for Chelsea in controversial fashion in the 11th minute. Fabregas produced a crunching challenge on Schalke’s Max Meyer, with the ball falling to Eden Hazard’s feet. Fabregas made an overlapping run and received the pass, slotting home to give Chelsea the lead.
But Draxler, in the 62nd minute, dribbled through the center of the park before dishing to Huntelaar. Huntelaar cut in from the left and fired a strike through the legs of Gary Cahill to tie the match.
Here’s a full rundown of Wednesday’s UCL results
AS Roma 5-1 CSKA Moscow
Bayern Munich 1-0 Manchester City
Barcelona 1-0 APOEL
Ajax 1-1 Paris Saint-Germain
Chelsea 1-1 FC Schalke 04
NK Maribor 1-1 Sporting CP
FC Porto 6-0 BATE
Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
What did you think of today’s results? Impressed with Roma’s onslaught? Feel that Man City deserved a point?
Share your thoughts below.