They were the Pot 4 club no one wanted to face and on Wednesday night, Roma dealt CSKA Moscow a heavy blow in the Italian capital, defeating the Russian side 5-1 behind stunning displays from Juan Iturbe and Gervinho.
A four goal rush in the first half gave the Romans all the separation they needed, with Iturbe and Maicon getting on the score sheet and Gervinho snatching a brace. The second half continued where the first let off with Moscow centerback Sergei Ignashevitch conceding an own-goal six minutes in before Ahmed Musa scored a late consolation goal.
Iturbe put Roma on the board just five minutes into the match when a Gervinho through-ball found the 21-year-old Argentine in the center of the box and his left-footed shot was carefully placed in the bottom corner. Four minutes later and Iturbe returned the favor, finding Gervinho in the center of the box and he finished low and into the corner.
A relentless Roma continued to storm forward and on 19 minutes, Iturbe proved provider yet again, this time finding Brazilian full-back Maicon on the right side of the box to finish in the bottom corner. After Roman Eremenko’s shot to the top corner was saved by Roma goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis, the Serie A side broke forward with Francesco Totti finding Gervinho for his second on the night.
In the second half, Ignashevitch’s own-goal added insult to injury but CSKA managed to collect itself and enjoy decent efforts from Miralem Pjanic and Dmitri Efremov that put De Sanctis to task. In the 68th minute Ivorian striker Seydou Doumbia nearly got the Russian side on the board after his right-footed effort was saved by De Sanctis before following up and hitting the bar.
Gaining momentum, CSKA pushed to get on the scoresheet with Kirill Panchenko and Bebras Natcho flying their efforts wide but in the 82nd minute the Russians were given their reward when Ahmed Musa’s left footed shot from the centre of the box found the bottom left corner.
An impressive display from Roma who will fancy their chances of an upset against Manchester City and Bayern Munich in Group E.
Roma: De Sanctis, Maicon, Manolas (Yanga-Mbiwa – 77′), Torosidis, Astori, Pjanic, Nainggolan, Keita, Iturbe (Florenzi – 26′), Totti, Gervinho (Ljajic – 71′)
Goals: Iturbe (6′), Gervinho (10′; 31′), Maicon (20′), Ignashevitch (51′)
CSKA: Akinfeev, Ignashevitch, Berezoutski, Figueira Fernandes, Nababkin (Schennikov – 45′), Alekseevich Eremenko(Panchenko – 66′), Musa, Natcho, Milanov, Tosic (Efremov – 53′), Doumbia
Goals: Musa (82′)