Roma end Cluj's dream
© AFP

A resurgent AS Roma moved to the top of UEFA Champions League Group A with a 3-1 win at CFR Cluj that eliminated the Romanians from the competition. The result, coupled with Chelsea's 1-1 draw at Bordeaux, means Roma can book their place in the knockout phase with a draw against the French side in their remaining group game.

Roma went into the match buoyed by a recent improvement in their form, having overcome Lecce 3-0 at the weekend in Serie A and beaten Chelsea 3-1 at the Stadio Olimpico in their last Champions League outing.

Cluj claimed a shock 2-1 win when the sides met in the reverse fixture in September but it was Roma who drew first blood at the Dr Constantin Radulescu stadium when Simone Perrotta galloped onto a pass down the inside-right channel and centred for midfielder Matteo Brighi to convert from close range. Eugen Trica should have restored parity 10 minutes later, but somehow contrived to place the ball wide from eight yards after being picked out at the back post by Sebastian Dubarbier.

And within minutes his side were 2-0 down. Cluj conceded a free-kick 25 yards from goal in a central position and Roma skipper Francesco Totti stepped up to shape a superb strike into the top-right corner.

But just as Roma were beginning to look assured, Cluj responded on the half-hour mark. Roma keeper Doni made a real mess of Alvaro Pereira's tame toe-poke and Burkina Faso striker Yssouf Kone was on hand to nod home the rebound and halve the deficit.

Kone then spurned two chances to level either side of half-time, but in the 64th minute Brighi put the game beyond the hosts when he controlled Rodrigo Taddei's square pass before finishing into the bottom-left corner.