Two Gervinho goals helped Roma to equal their biggest margin of victory in the UEFA Champions League on their return to the competition.
AS Roma made an impressive return to the UEFA Champions League, making up for lost time with a 5-1 Group E victory against PFC CSKA Moskva at the Stadio Olimpico.
Back on Europe’s top stage for the first time in over three years, Giallorossi goals from Juan Manuel Iturbe, Gervinho (2) and Maicon effectively ended the contest after half an hour. An own goal from Sergei Ignashevich then ensured Roma of a comfortable triumph despite Ahmed Musa’s late effort.
Roma had clearly missed their time without UEFA Champions League football and were straight on the attack, the tireless Radja Nainggolan’s cross turned just past his own post by Mário Fernandes with Gervinho looming. It was a taste of things to come and not too long after, Gervinho put Iturbe through to score Roma’s first goal in the competition since Jeremy Ménez netted at the Olimpico against FC Shakhtar Donetsk in February 2011.
Not satisfied with that, Iturbe returned the favour to tee up Gervinho to prod the ball in from near the penalty spot and make it two for the hosts with a mere ten minutes played. Then came a let-off for Rudi García’s men as Seydou Doumbia burst past the last defender Maicon, but lost his footing at the crucial moment with just Morgan De Sanctis to beat.
It was enough of a warning for Roma to respond and get a third after only 20 minutes with marauding full-back Maicon cutting inside to beat Igor Akinfeev with a slightly deflected shot inside his near post. From an almost identical position, Gervinho added Roma’s fourth after 31 minutes with a neat finish into the far corner.
There was to be little respite for the guests in the second half with Roma’s hunger far from satisfied. Vassilis Torossidis whipped in a cross from the left which substitute Alessandro Florenzi may well have brushed with his head, but it was Ignashevich who provided the decisive header past his own goalkeeper, completing a miserable night for the CSKA defender.
CSKA launched a reaction of sorts with Doumbia shooting over and then finding the crossbar. Musa did manage to scramble in a late consolation while falling to the ground and Georgi Milanov rattled the crossbar for a second time, but enough damage had already been done for the Armeytsi.