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Jinxed Roma defeat shatters Champions League build-up

SoccerNews in Serie A 13 Sep 2008

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AS Roma's build-up to their opening Champions League clash suffered a setback on Saturday when they crashed 3-1 at Palermo in Serie A.

The defeat, coming on the back of a 1-1 draw with Napoli two weeks ago, was the worst preparation for Tuesday's European clash against Romania's Cluj.

Roma took the lead through Julio Baptista after just eight minutes following a flowing move, but they eventually paid a heavy price for being without injured skipper Francesco Totti and striker Mirko Vucinic who pulled out with a back injury just before kick-off.

They were also without Philippe Mexes, Juan and Simone Perrotta and then lost Daniele De Rossi with a neck injury later in the game.

Palermo, with new coach Davide Ballardini having replaced Stefano Colantuono, levelled through a Fabrizio Miccoli drive in the 20th minute after being set-up by Brazilian midfielder Fabio Simplicio.

Miccoli added a second for Palermo in the 56th minute with Edison Cavani scoring the third in the 72nd minute.

“We played below our capabilities at some times, while in others we did quite well without converting the chances,” said Roma coach Luciano Spalletti.

“There is little to complain about, as we lost by a clear margin in terms of the result, but that did not reflect what I saw in the match overall.”

Later Saturday, champions Inter Milan welcome Catania to the San Siro.

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