ROME (AFP) – Gervinho hit a first-half brace as AS Roma marked their return to the Champions League in stunning fashion on Wednesday with a 5-1 rout of CSKA Moscow.
Roma had last featured in the competition in the 2010-11 season when they reached the last 16.
But after a three-year wait, and having finished runners-up to Juventus in the Serie A title race last season, Rudi Garcia’s men have underlined their intention to claim one of the two coveted qualifying places from a Group E which also includes Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
Roma can now look forward to a trip to Manchester on September 30 to face a City side who started with a 1-0 defeat to Bayern in Germany.
Garcia had rested a number of key players for the Giallorossi’s visit to Empoli last weekend and his strategy paid off, with Argentinian Juan Iturbe, who sat out the 1-0 win in Tuscany, firing Roma into a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute after a mazy run that left him in a one-on-one with Igor Akinfeev.
Russian champions CSKA had travelled to the Italian capital with several players absent due to injury and suspension and they looked off the pace throughout.