ROME - There was never any doubt that AS Roma would qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League despite losing their first game in group play, coach Luciano Spalletti said after his beat Girondins Bordeaux 2-0 on Tuesday. The victory enabled the Serie A side, who lost their opening game to Romania debutants CFR Cluj 2-1, to qualify for the competition's knockout stage as group winners for the first time, finishing a point ahead of English side Chelsea. "I always knew that with the quality and intelligence of our players we would come back," Spalletti told a news conference. "If you think about the period we experienced after the Cluj (game), to win with a result like this (today) shows we have chemistry." Needing only a draw to progress, Roma sat back in the first half of Tuesday's match at the Stadio Olimpico before striking twice after the break with goals by Matteo Brighi and captain Francesco Totti. "We played the match in the right way," said Spalletti. "We played an ordered, tidy match of great intelligence and maturity." Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc believes his players were undone by some typical Italian ruthlessness. "As often happens with Italian teams, Roma let you have possession but then they punish you," Blanc said. "We were lacking in attack. There wasn't any space. We had a few chances but they didn't give us the opportunity to be dangerous."
9 December 2008
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