Roma restore respectability after 7-1 'accident'
06 November 2014, 13:14
Rome - AS Roma were happy to restore respectability and show that their 7-1 home defeat by Bayern Munich was an accident after losing 2-0 to the Bavarians in the return Champions League group match on Wednesday.
However, both Roma themselves and the Italian media acknowledge the huge gulf in class between the Bundesliga champions and Serie A runners-up over the two games.
"Bayern too much for Roma," sports daily Corriere dello Sport said on its front page. "The Giallorossi limit the damage in Munich."
In comments that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago when Serie A teams dominated the Champions League, coach Rudi Garcia and has players seemed happy to have kept the scoreline down to a respectable 2-0.
Rather like his Liverpool counterpart Brendan Rodgers at Real Madrid, Garcia seemed to accept his team had little realistic hope of winning in Munich and preferred to save his top players for Sunday's Serie A clash against Torino.
The Frenchman made five changes to the side thumped in the first leg, surprisingly leaving out creative players such as talismanic forward Francesco Totti, winger Gervinho and midfielder Miralem Pjanic.
"I congratulate the boys because we were able to cancel out the image of the first leg," said Garcia. "All the guys did a good job because against Bayern you need to be well organised.
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"I made certain choices to ensure we have a compact team and to ensure we have some fresh legs on Sunday," he added.
"For our part, we have created a few chances but could not open the door and when we did we came up against Manuel Neuer, the best goalkeeper in the world."
Midfielders Daniele De Rossi and Radja Nainggolan took a similar line as they recognised Bayern's crushing superiority.
"We have agreed that Bayern are stronger," De Rossi said. "We got everything right and played differently compared to two weeks ago, we gave a different impression although it was difficult to do as badly as we did two weeks ago.
"We understand that they are two steps ahead of us, we tried to adapt to their game," added Nainggolan.
"They didn't have any clear chances apart from the two goals. The other match was just an accident."
Despite effectively losing 9-1 on aggregate, Roma are still well-placed to qualify for the last 16 thanks to Manchester City's shock 2-1 home defeat by CSKA Moscow.
Wednesday's results have left Roma and CSKA with four points each while the Premier League champions have two. Bayern, with a maximum 12 points, have qualified for the last 16 as group winners.
Roma, who beat CSKA 5-1 at home, visit the Russians in their next match before hosting City in the final game.
"If someone had told us that after two matches with Bayern, we would have still been second, I would have happily accepted that," said Garcia.