Football Football

Roma must learn from painful thrashing


TOTTI-BAYERNROME, October 22- Coach Rudi Garcia insisted Roma will have to learn from their 7-1 humbling by Bayern Munich after the Germans handed the high-flying Serie A side a memorable lesson in Champions League football on Tuesday.

“We have to learn from this defeat, or else there’s no point,” said Garcia after the Italians suffered their biggest defeat in the competition since a 7-1 rout at Manchester United in 2007.

“It was a slap and it hurt. Now we have to be mentally strong and get over it.”

Pep Guardiola’s Bundesliga leaders travelled to the Eternal City looking to draw first blood in the first of two consecutive encounters between the Group E rivals — they meet in Munich in a fortnight.

Instead the German champions, who won their last Champions League title in 2013, cemented their credentials as potential winners of this campaign. 

Garcia’s men were a pale shadow of the side that had beaten CSKA Moscow 5-1 at home and battled to a 1-1 draw with Manchester City.

But even Bayern seemed astonished at how easily the Serie A high-flyers crumbled during a spectacular first half that saw the visitors take a 5-0 lead.

Dutch playmaker Arjen Robben opened the scoring in the ninth minute with a sublime chip towards the far post of Morgan De Sanctis’s net.

Garcia admitted it was the first mistake of many on the night. “I told the lads we can’t let Robben get on to his left foot,” added the Frenchman.

“After conceding the early goal, we then made the mistake of trying to draw level as quickly as possible instead of waiting patiently and playing our game.” 

Further strikes from Mario Goetze, Robert Lewandowski, a second from Robben and a Thomas Mueller penalty on 36 minutes left Garcia’s men with a mountain to climb.

The first 45 minutes must have struck a chord with Garcia, whose Lille side suffered a 5-0 first-half rout by Bayern during a 6-1 group stage defeat in 2012 in Munich when the German side went on to lift the trophy. 

Roma came fighting back in the second half and for a brief period took command.

Within eight minutes the Olimpico was roaring again but Gervinho could only hit the post while under pressure from Jerome Boateng and moments later Alessandro Florenzi, who replaced Francesco Totti at half-time, saw his angled strike well-saved by Manuel Neuer.

Neuer blocked expertly on the hour mark when Gervinho, who had been bundled to the ground, got his foot to Pjanic’s deep free kick towards the back post.

Gervinho finally found the net when he headed past Neuer from close range after Radja Nainggolan’s inch-perfect delivery from the left following Juan Iturbe’s searing run.

Guardiola later said the result was “a one-off. I bet it won’t be repeated when Roma come to us in a fortnight”.

The Spanish coach, who famously won 14 trophies in a two-year spell with Barcelona including the Champions League in his first season, added: “We took our foot off the pedal for around 25 minutes in the second half.

“We started chasing the ball, we let Gervinho run into space, we stopped doing our job defensively. That’s why we suffered and they created four or five chances.” 

However Roma’s revival did not last long. France international Franck Ribery replaced Lewandowski in the 68th minute and 10 minutes later struck Bayern’s sixth. 

Late substitute Xherdan Shaqiri rubbed salt into Roma’s wounds when he grabbed Bayern’s seventh after being allowed to collect a rebound from a De Sanctis spill to fire into the roof of the net 10 minutes from time.

The only positive sign for Roma was an earlier 2-2 draw between Manchester City and CSKA Moscow which left Roma in second place on four points, two ahead of the English champions.

“We’re still second in the group and still with a chance of qualifying,” said Garcia.

“It’s still wide open. But in our remaining three Champions League game we’ll have to show that we’ve learned a lot from this defeat.”