SPORT

AS Roma tops Manchester United

LONDON: AS Roma earned a 2-1 win over 10-man Manchester United on Wednesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals, and Valencia held host Chelsea to a 1-1 draw.

Roma got goals from Rodrigo Taddei and Mirko Vucinic at Stadio Olimpico, where Manchester United fans fought briefly with police after the first goal. Didier Drogba scored the equaliser for Chelsea, which has never won the European Cup.

Taddei scored from inside the area in the 44th minute, sending a low shot from 12 metres past goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar after a deflection off Manchester United defender Wes Brown.

Taddei had another shot on goal moments earlier, but Van der Sar made the save and knocked the ball out for a corner. Amantino Mancini quickly placed the ball and tapped it Francesco Totti, who then passed it back to Mancini before his cross found Taddei in the centre.

"We were facing a great club one that's used to playing these competitions. The team reacted well, especially after they equalised," Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said. "It was a big test for us."

Unruly fans

After the goal, opposing fans taunted each other by banging on the partition separating the sections. One fan was seen lying with blood covering his face as police hit fans with night sticks to restore order.

There was also violence before the match, with several United fans injured in clashes outside the stadium.

Wayne Rooney equalised for United in the 60th, chesting down a cross from Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and easily shooting past Roma goalkeeper Alexander Doni.

The goal was Rooney's first in the Champions League since he scored three in his debut against Fenerbahce in September 2004.

"It was important to score a goal, and we did," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "We knew it was going to be tough and it was tough."

But Vucinic put Roma ahead again in the 66th, putting in a rebound after Mancini's hard shot was stopped by Van der Sar.

United played with 10 men after midfielder Paul Scholes received his second yellow card in the 34th for taking down Totti. In the 26th, the former England international brought down Christian Wilhelmsson.

Roma is playing in the quarterfinals for the first time since the tournament was renamed the Champions League in 1992. The last time the Italian team advanced to the last eight of the European Cup in 1984 it reached the final.

Drogba, who scored his 30th goal of the season, equalised for Chelsea with a header in the 53rd minute after a long, looping pass from Ashley Cole.

Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares sent a goal kick straight at Cole, who controlled the ball and sent it right back toward the Valencia box. The ball bounced once and Drogba got to it before Valencia defender Roberto Ayala.

"With a draw everything is open," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. "I believe they believe they are in a better position now because they are at home, but why not go and win in Valencia or get a draw and take it to extra time?"

Powerful shot

David Silva gave Valencia the lead in the 30th, taking a throw in on the left and dribbling toward the middle before unleashing a hard, 25-metre shot that left Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech no chance.

"We've got objective one achieved, which was to take the game into the second leg, so the tie will be decided at the Mestalla," Valencia coach Enrique Sanchez Flores said.

The results: AS Roma 2 (Rodrigo Taddei, Mirko Vucinic) bt Manchester United 1 (Wayne Rooney); Chelsea 1 (Didier Drogba) drew with Valencia 1 (David Silva). AP