United held in Rome
United and Roma draw 1-1 at the Stadio Olimpico
Last Updated: 12/12/07 10:56pm
Pique: Scored the opener
Roma ended Manchester United's perfect record in the UEFA Champions League this season courtesy of a second-half Mancini strike.
The Premier League champions had already qualified top of Group F after five wins from their opening five games and went ahead through Gerard Pique's 34th minute header.
Sir Alex Ferguson made nine changes to the team that beat Derby County 4-1 at the weekend, and his young team nearly held on for what would have been a memorable victory at the Stadio Olimpico.
But Brazilian forward Mancini beat Wes Brown and whipped a fierce curling shot past Tomasz Kuszczak to save Luciano Spalletti's blushes in Rome.
For the second season running violence scarred United's visit to Rome with a 16-year-old believed to be among seven Red Devils fans requiring hospital treatment after trouble outside the Stadio Olimpico.
Mercifully, there were no problems inside with 1,200 visiting fans well policed but yet again, despite a marked improvement in security from the disgraceful baton-wielding policing on United's last visit in April, the talk will still be about the apparent inability of the Italian authorities to contain the scourge of hooliganism, which has already twice seen soccer suspended in the country.
Had Nani's set-piece delivery matched the eye-catching nature of his blistering left-wing raids, United would probably have been in front long before they eventually seized the initiative.
Wayne Rooney, responding to the captaincy in exactly the way Ferguson would have wanted, led from the front, covering every blade of grass as he aided his side's cause in attack and defence.
Jonny Evans was certainly caught flat-footed by Cicinho's right-wing cross when Mauro Esposito glanced narrowly wide.
Keeper Kuszczak produced a couple of excellent saves to deny David Pizarro and Mancini, who also struck the crossbar after being set up by captain Francesco Totti.
But it was United who claimed the spoils during that opening period, with Pique's name the one going up in lights as he rose to nod home when Nani eventually got a corner right.
Ghanaian midfielder Ahmed Barusso left a nasty imprint on the game and Evans' shin at the start of the second half as he went straight over the ball with a woeful tackle which could have brought a greater sanction than the yellow card produced by referee Martin Hansson.
Having already shown the worst side of his game, Barusso offered a glimpse of his best, sending a 25-yard effort whistling just wide of Kuszczak's goal.
United were never on the back foot for long though and would have doubled their lead if Cristiano Doni had not raced out to block Louis Saha's shot at point-blank range after Rooney had sent his strike partner clear with a superb through-ball.
The introduction of Mirko Vucinic changed that theory as the Montenegrin quickly set up Mancini for a well-taken equaliser before striking the base of a post with an excellent snap-shot, the nearest Roma came to a winner.
|Roma||Team Statistics||Manchester United|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||4|
|9||Shots off Target||8|
UEFA Champions League
Wed 12th Dec - Group H
Arsenal2 - 1S Bucuresti
Slavia Prague0 - 3Sevilla
Wed 12th Dec - Group F
Sporting3 - 0Dynamo Kiev
Roma1 - 1Man Utd
Wed 12th Dec - Group E
Barcelona3 - 1Stuttgart
Rangers0 - 3Lyon
Wed 12th Dec - Group G
PSV0 - 1Inter
Fenerbahce3 - 1CSKA Mosc
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|1||Paris St Germain||6||13|
UEFA Champions League Group D
|3||FC Viktoria Plzen||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group E
|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||6|
UEFA Champions League Group H