Roma on the board after edging out Cluj

Philippe Mexes put the Italians ahead in the 69th minute before

substitute Marco Borriello doubled the lead two minutes later.

Cluj’s Ionut Rada reduced the arrears with 12 minutes remaining,

but Roma held on. The Giallorossi, who lost their opener at Bayern

Munich, were dreadful in the first half-hour and were lucky not to

be 2-0 down early in the second half. Cluj’s Lacina Traore hit the

crossbar after 31 minutes played and the Ivory Coast striker could

not believe his misfortune after his bullet strike rebounded off

the post in the 52nd minute. The win lifts Roma to second in Group

E, level on three points with Cluj and one point behind leaders

Bayern Munich after two games played. Cluj dominated possession

early on but could not make it count. Traore thought he had put

them ahead after 31 minutes but his left-footed strike from 15

yards hit the crossbar with Roma goalkeeper Bogdan Lobont already

beaten. It was a wake-up call for Roma, who had the first chance

soon after. Daniele De Rossi set up Mirko Vucinic and his angled

shot from the edge of the area forced Cluj goalkeeper Nuno Claro to

make a save. Shortly after, Claro did well to turn away Francesco

Totti’s free-kick. On the stroke of half-time, Nicolas Burdisso

latched onto Totti’s cross and his header was saved by Claro. In

the 52nd minute, Traore’s bullet strike from distance struck the

far post as Cluj began the second half in confident fashion. Roma

pressed forward and broke the deadlock after the hour mark. David

Pizarro’s low corner found Mexes inside the area and he fired past

Claro. Cluj had little time to react as Roma struck again soon

after. Borriello got behind De Rossi’s pass and his beautiful

volley went into the back of the net. The visitors never gave up

hope and reduced the deficit with 12 minutes remaining as Rada

nodded Culio’s free-kick past Lobont. Roma were forced to defend as

Cluj went in search of the equaliser. With two minutes remaining,

Lobont did well to punch away a dangerous strike from Dica.