Roma captain Francesco Totti capped a magnificent comeback with a late penalty as the Italians stunned Bayern Munich 3-2 at the Stadio Olimpico in tonight's Group E UEFA Champions League showdown.
Trailing 2-0 at half-time after Mario Gomez's two goals, Marco Borriello hit the back of the net four minutes after the re-start before Daniele De Rossi's equaliser with nine minutes remaining. Totti, who had come on as a substitute with 20 minutes left, then scored the winner from the penalty spot six minutes from the end after Borriello had been brought down inside the area by Bayern goalkeeper Thomas Kraft. The result has put Roma within touching distance of a place in the next round as they sit three points clear of third-placed Basle.
"It was important to get points tonight, we got three against the vice-champions of Europe, it wasn't easy, especially in the first half but the players were magnificent," said Ranieri.
Bayern's Dutch coach Louis van Gaal slammed his players for throwing away another game. "We played a great first half, we dominated but then it was incredible how we brought Roma back into the match in the second half," he said. "Ranieri changed their system from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 but that wasn't the problem. The problem was we lost too many balls and gave away too many chances to Roma.We've thrown away a game again, like we did against (Borussia) Moenchengladbach and (Bayer) Leverkusen and we have to find a way to stop doing that."
Bayern went into the game assured of first place but conceded their first defeat after four straight victories in the competition. Roma face Cluj in Romania on 8 December while Bayern take on Basle in their final group game. The Romans have been in excellent form in Serie A and climbed into fifth place at the weekend with a 2-0 triumph over Udinese. They were the first to threaten in the game at the Stadio Olimpico with Borriello hitting the ball on target and forcing Bayern Munich goalkeeper Thomas Kraft to dive and push the attempt away. Shortly after, Franck Ribery fed Martin Demichelis outside the area and his well-struck attempt went wide of the far post.
Midway through the first half, Roma had a chance to go in front. Leandro Greco was outside the area and fired on target only to be denied by Kraft. In the 33rd minute, Gomez broke the deadlock. Ribery fed his 25-year-old teammate and his right-footed strike inside the box beat Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio. Roma had little time to react as Gomez notched his second six minutes later. Thomas Muller threaded the ball through the Roma defence and Gomez shot towards the bottom right corner and out of Julio Sergio's reach.
Roma picked up the tempo after the re-start and their efforts were rewarded. A great run from Menez saw the French striker get past Demichelis and play the ball into the area where Borriello managed to get his foot to the ball and fire past Kraft. The hosts almost equalised on the hour mark but Kraft denied substitute Fabio Simplicio from close range. At the other end, Demichelis' angled effort went wide of the far post. With 20 minutes remaining, Simplicio tested Kraft with a left-footed shot from eight yards which the goalkeeper saved.
"Bayern make you run a lot, that's why in the second half I put Vucinic left and Menez right, then we managed to create problems on the flanks," explained Ranieri. He then used the last of his allotted substitutes and brought on club captain Totti to replace Matteo Brighi. In the 81st minute, Roma pulled level. John Arne Riise crossed into the area and De Rossi was there to tap the ball in. Roma went ahead soon after when Totti stepped up to take the penalty following the foul on Borriello. Kraft guessed correctly but was unable to keep Totti's spot-kick from going in as the home crowd erupted.