Good evening everyone! The group stage of this year's Champions League
started last night, and now it is the turn of Roma
and CSKA Moscow
to get their European campaigns underway. With Bayern Munich and Manchester City also in Group E, both clubs will be looking to get points on the board tonight in Rome.
After a season without European football, Roma are back and keen to impress on Europe's biggest stage. They were outstanding in Serie A last season and their club record of 85 points would usually have been enough to win the title, had it not been for an even more impressive Juventus side.
They have started this season well and have won their first two games, with many believing that this will be the year they end Juve's reign as champions. Of course last season they did not have to worry about playing European matches in midweek, but it is a problem that manager Rudi Garcia
will be relishing.
Visiting the Stadio Olimpico this evening is a CSKA Moscow team who have won the Russian title for the last two seasons. They didn't enjoy the best of experiences at this stage last season and actually finished bottom of their group.
It is a bit of déjà vu for CSKA, who have been drawn against Manchester City and Bayern Munich again. Their only win last time around came against Czech club Viktoria Plzen, but the addition of Roma to the group will ensure another difficult campaign ahead of them.
Roma captain Francesco Totti
is back in the starting lineup after being rested at the weekend. He is joined by Gervinho and Juan Iturbe
in a front three. Miralem Pjanic
, Seydou Keita
and Radja Nainggolan
make up the midfield, while Vassilis Torossidis
starts at left back instead of Ashley Cole
. Meanwhile, Seydou Doumbia
and Ahmed Musa
lead the attack for the visitors, with former Manchester United winger Zoran Tosic
De Sanctis, Maicon
, Manolas, Astori, Torosidis, Pjanic, Keita, Nainggolan, Iturbe, Totti, Gervinho
CSKA MOSCOW XI: Akinfeev, Fernandes, Ignashevich, Nababkin, Tosic, Milanov, Eremenko, Natcho, Musa, Doumbia
ROMA SUBS: Skorupski, Yanga-Mbiwa, Cole, Florenzi, Parades, Ljajic Destro
CSKA MOSCOW SUBS: Chepchugov, Berezutski, Chernov, Efremov, Panchenko, Bazelyuk
You have to go back to the 2010-11 season for the last time that Roma were in the Champions League. The Italian side recovered from losing two of their first three matches to make it through to the knockout rounds. They were then drawn against Shakhtar Donetsk in the last 16 and many people thought they would progress to the quarter-finals.
However, their hopes suffered a huge blow when they were beaten 3-2 at home in the first leg. Their misery was compounded in the return meeting a few weeks later, as they went down 3-0 in Ukraine. Willian
scored the goals that night, while Marco Borriello
missed a penalty for Roma, with Philippe Mexes
picking up a red card on a thoroughly miserable evening.
Roma have never won the European Cup, with the closest they came to lifting the trophy back in 1984. On that occasion in their home stadium they were beaten by Liverpool in a penalty shootout following a goalless draw. They reached the UEFA Cup final seven years later, but again tasted defeat, after losing 2-1 on aggregate to rivals Inter Milan.
They have signed plenty of players this season as they look to balance domestic and European football. Ex-England international Ashley Cole
is perhaps the most high profile of all the summer acquisitions, having joined on a free transfer following his release from Chelsea.
In terms of transfer fees, Juan Iturbe was the big money signing. He joined the club from Hellas Verona in July and is believed to have cost €22m (£17.4m). It was strongly reported that Juventus were also interested, but Roma came out on top in the battle for his services.
Other notable additions to the Roma squad include tonight's defensive pairing of Davide Astori
and Kostas Manolas
as well as Urby Emanuelson
, Seydou Keita
and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa
. They didn't lose many key players over the summer, although the departure of Mehdi Benatia
to Bayern Munich was a blow considering how well he played last season.
I have mentioned that CSKA have won successive titles in Russia, but they are currently fourth in the table this season. Their new league campaign started at the beginning of August and after three consecutive wins, they suffered two defeats on the spin. However, they have won their last two games and sit six points behind leaders Zenit St. Petersburg.
CSKA have achieved a measure of success in Europe over recent years. They became the first Russian club to win a major European title in 2005 when they beat Sporting Lisbon 3-1 in the UEFA Cup final. That season also saw them become the first team in their nation's history to win the treble.
The furthest they have ever got in the Champions League was the quarter-final stage in 2010. Their opponents then were Inter Milan, who beat them 2-0 on aggregate to progress. The Italian side would go on to win the trophy that season.
There has been one previous encounter between the two teams this evening, which was in the first round of the 1991-92 UEFA Cup Winners Cup. Roma won the first leg 2-1 in Moscow and despite losing 1-0 back in Italy, they made it through on away goals. The Giallorossi then made it as far as the quarter-finals, where they were knocked out by Monaco.
PREDICTION: Roma will be confident of getting off to a good start this evening, but it won't be easy against this CSKA side. The Russians are more than capable of producing a shock and have plenty of European experience. I feel that Garcia's men will have slightly too much quality in the final third for their opponents and I can see them claiming a 3-1 win.
There are just a few minutes left until the Champions League returns to the Stadio Olimpico and both teams are out on the pitch. Don't forget that we have live coverage of every match in Europe this evening, with Roma fans surely keeping an eye on Bayern Munich and Man City's clash.
KICKOFF! We are underway at the Stadio Olimpico!
CHANCE! The home side have started strongly and they are inches away from taking the lead. The ball breaks kindly for Nainggolan down the right and the midfielder looks up to spot Gervinho in the six-yard box. He drives the ball in low, but the CSKA defence manage to scramble the ball wide of the post before it could reach the Ivorian.
It's all Roma at the moment and they look determined to get an early goal. They have pegged the CSKA defence back deep inside their own half and Maicon is finding plenty of space down the right wing.
GOAL! Roma 1-0 CSKA Moscow (Juan Iturbe)
Roma have got the early got that they so badly craved. Gervinho picks up the ball in the midfield and glides by a couple of challenges before playing a brilliant pass through to Iturbe. The Argentine then takes a touch, before setting himself and placing a composed finish into the bottom corner past Akinfeev.
CSKA really don't know what has hit them. There is so much energy and pace throughout the Roma side and plenty of room for them to exploit. Garcia will be absolutely delighted with the way his team have begun on this huge European night.
GOAL! Roma 2-0 CSKA Moscow (Gervinho)
It just gets better for Roma as they double their lead inside of 10 minutes! It's Iturbe who provides the assist this time, as he finds space on the right to deliver a cross into the box for Gervinho. The Ivorian then gets the ball out of his feet, before firing a strike past the keeper.
The visitors show a first glimpse of what they can do as Mousa leads a charge forward. He tries to slide the ball into the path of Doumbia, but it is just cut out in time by the Roma defence, who are able to clear the danger.
CHANCE! Iturbe has been brilliant this evening and the Russians cannot handle him. His latest chance on goal sees him wriggle his way past two defenders, before firing in a low strike that deflects just wide, with Akinfeev left helpless.
CHANCE! CSKA have just missed a huge chance to get back into this match. Doumbia finds himself running clean through on goal as his side break quickly from a corner. He storms into the box and has just De Sanctis to beat, but at the vital moment he loses his footing and can only poke the ball into the gloves of the keeper. The Ivorian will be having nightmares over that miss later!
This has been such a great game to watch and you sense that there are plenty more goals to come. At the moment Roma have just regained a measure of possession, after almost allowing the visitors to pull one back.
GOAL! Roma 3-0 CSKA Moscow (Maicon)
Roma are absolutely cruising now, but this goal has to go down as an error from the keeper. Maicon is picked out down the right and bursts into the box. He fires in a strike that should be saved by Akinfeev, but the Russian number one somehow allows the ball to slip through his grasp and into the net.
This match is almost like a training session for Roma, who are playing the ball around with ease. CSKA just don't know what to do and this game is surely out of their reach even at such an early stage.
It's not all good news for Roma, as Iturbe needs some treatment after going down under a challenge from Natcho. There is no need to risk him with such a big lead and it looks as if he will be heading off.
SUBSTITUTION: Roma do indeed make the change, with Florenzi coming on for Iturbe. Let's hope that there it is not a serious problem for the winger and it is just a precautionary measure.
The Russian side have hardly posed a threat, but they have a slight opening when Fernandes finds some space to get a shot away on the edge of the box. However, his effort takes a deflection and it ends up falling kindly into the arms of the keeper.
GOAL! Roma 4-0 CSKA Moscow (Gervinho)
This is turning into an absolute rout as Gervinho scores a wonderful fourth. He runs free down the right after latching onto Totti's pass and cuts inside before getting the ball onto his left foot and fires a low strike past Akinfeev. The ex-Arsenal man has been a revelation since his move to Rome and has shown just what he can do when given the chance.
CHANCE! Roma continue to pile on the pressure and Florenzi fires in a strike from outside the box that Akinfeev manages to tip wide of the post.
It's so simple for the hosts at the moment and there are plenty more goals in this for them if they keep playing as they are now. Their passing game has been brilliant and the pace of their wide men has seen them get in behind time and time again.
SAVE! Akinfeev may have made a big mistake for the third goal, but he prevents Roma from extending their lead. It's Pjanic who is denied, as he latches onto a wonderful pass over the top from Maicon, before seeing his low shot take a deflection. The ball appears to be heading into the net, but Akinfeev manages to adjust and pull off a superb one-handed save.
It almost seems at times like there is no-one playing on the left-hand side of the pitch for CSKA. From kick off Roma have been able to exploit the space on that flank, with Maicon and Gervinho just two of the players to have profited.
There are going to be two minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half.
HALF-TIME: Roma 4-0 CSKA Moscow
The referee calls time on the first half, with Roma in complete control. They lead 4-0 at the interval and it could easily have been more. CSKA's manager will surely have some strong words for his players, after a very disappointing 45 minutes for them.
It's no surprise to see that Roma are completely dominating the statistics at half time. They have had 66% of the possession and have had 11 shots on goal, with six of those finding the target. CSKA have mustered just two shots on goal, with Doumbia missing a golden chance to score for them early on.
There was one slight blow for Roma in the first half, with Iturbe having to off after picking up a knock. It did not look serious at the time and as his team were three goals ahead, there was no need to risk an injury. The Argentine was having a fantastic game up until then and he took his goal extremely well.
Roma are well placed to go top of Group E this evening. The other match involving Bayern Munich and Manchester City is currently goalless at the Allianz Arena. A victory tonight has always been seen as crucial if the Italian side want to make it through to the knockout stages and they are halfway towards achieving that.
The two teams are now making their way back out onto the pitch and the action will be getting back underway in Rome shortly.
The second half has started and CSKA have made a change, with Schennikov coming on for Nababkin.
It seems that Roma are still on the hunt for more goals this evening and they have begun the second half on the front foot. Totti has their first attempt on goal with a clipped effort from outside the box that is saved by the keeper, before Gervinho gets in behind down the right and drills a shot across the box that is just beyond the reach of his teammates.
GOAL! Roma 5-0 CSKA Moscow (Sergei Ignashevich own goal)
It's taken Roma just five minutes of the first half to further extend their lead! It's an unfortunate goal from the visitors point of view, as Ignashevich heads the ball into his own net after trying to clear a cross from Torosidis.
GOAL DISALLOWED! The hosts have the ball in the net again, but this time it is ruled out after Gervinho was deemed to be in an offside position, before he squared the ball to Nainggolan to tap home. In the meantime CSKA have made a second change, as Efremov comes on to replace Tosic.
CKSA have nothing to lose now and they are pouring more players forward in search of a goal. It has left them even more exposed and Roma have already shown that they are in the mood to punish any mistakes at the back this evening.
Eremenko tries his luck from range for the visitors, but he sees his powerful effort saved by De Sanctis. Roma then break quickly down the other end and Pjanic is slid in down the right-hand side of the box, before seeing his shot from a tight angle blocked by the keeper.
The Russians have seen a lot more of the ball in this half and they have another effort on goal when Efremov gets in behind and sees a strike saved by the keeper. They can't make anything count from the resulting corner, as Roma comfortably clear the danger.
SUBSTITUTION: The visitors make their final change of the night, as Panchenko comes on to replace Eremenko.
There aren't many CSKA players who will come out of tonight's match with any credit, but Musa has been a threat. He does well to get free down the left, before whipping a ball across the box. It eventually falls to Doumbia at the back post, who then sees his strike blocked and head behind for a corner.
CHANCE! From the resulting set piece CSKA have a good opportunity to get on the scoresheet as Doumbia sees his shot from inside the box come back off the bar, before Natcho fires the rebound over.
SUBSTITUTION: Roma make their second change of the match, with Ljajic coming on for the two-goal hero Gervinho.
Despite CSKA's recent resurgence, the hosts still look the more likely of the two teams to score the next goal. They manage to carve open the opposition defence again with Florenzi played in behind, but his final ball into the box is poor and goes high over the heads of his teammates.
SUBSTITUTION: Roma make their third and final change of the match, with Yanga-Mbiwa replacing Manolas.
Totti is desperate to get on the scoresheet this evening and he would become the oldest player to score in Champions League history if he was to find the net. He hasn't had too many chances, but after working some room outside the box, he can only drag a low effort wide of the far post.
GOAL! Roma 5-1 CSKA Moscow (Ahmed Musa)
It's barely a consolation, but CSKA have got on the scoresheet this evening. Musa is the man who finds the goal, as he battles well for the ball inside the box, and when it breaks kindly to him, he manages to sort out his feet and poke a neat effort into the corner.
Roma are momentarily down to 10 men, with Astori heading off to receive treatment after picking up a knock. Garcia has made all his substitutions this evening, but with such a big lead it shouldn't be too much of a problem if he doesn't come back on.
OFF THE BAR! CSKA come close to finding a second goal as Milanov unleashes a wonderful strike from range that crashes off the bar and bounces back out. The replay appears to show that the ball may have crossed the line, but it was not spotted by the officials.
We are going to have four minutes of stoppage time.
CHANCE! Roma have taken their foot of the gas in the closing stages and it has given their opponents and numner of opportunities to find the net. This time CSKA win a corner and when the ball comes out to Panchenko on the edge of the box, he guides a low strike just wide of the post.
FULL-TIME: Roma 5-1 CSKA Moscow
There were no further chances for either side in added time and it finishes with Roma running out 5-1 winners. They were exceptional this evening and their performance will have sent out a warning that they are not in this group to make up the numbers.
In tonight's other Group E match, a last-minute goal from Jerome Boateng has given Bayern Munich a 1-0 win over Manchester City. That result means that Roma are top on goal difference and will be high in confidence going into their next match against the Premier League champions.
That's all we've got time for this evening. Make sure you stick around for analysis and player ratings of each match that took place in today's Champions League. Until next time, goodbye!