Roma and Lyon play to 0-0 draw

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Lyon - attempting to reach the Champions League quarterfinals for the fourth year in a row – played out a 0-0 draw with AS Roma on Wednesday.

updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Lyon is attempting to reach the Champions League quarterfinals for the fourth year in a row. AS Roma is trying to book a place in the last eight for the first time. One of the two teams, who drew 0-0 on Wednesday, will advance on March 6 when they play in the second leg of the second round at Lyon. Juninho had a free kick that was deflected off the post in the eighth minute and 11 yellow cards were handed out by English referee Michael Riley - eight of them to Roma. "It was a typical Champions League game, with a lot of effort and a lot of muscle. I think the two clubs are very even," Lyon coach Gerard Houllier said. "Obviously, we would have liked to win, but all in all, a draw was the fair result." Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said the rainy conditions hurt his team. "We rely on our speed. They're a little more muscular than us and that helped them," Spalletti said. "It was an open game, there were a lot of scoring chances, but there's a lot on the table and both sides were trying not to allow any goals." Both coaches were satisfied with the officiating. "The officiating simply reflects UEFA's rules, which are very explicit," Houllier said. "It's very different from the French league. Spalletti also complimented Riley. "I liked him a lot. He was very even in his decisions and he always kept the game under control," Spalletti said. Even contest Before a rare sellout crowd at Stadio Olimpico, the play was spread fairly evenly from the start. Roma defender Philippe Mexes was booked for tripping Juninho in the second minute. The Brazilian midfielder was helped off the field holding his left knee and came back on a minute later. Five minutes later, another Roma defender - Christian Panucci - received a yellow for a sliding tackle on Florent Malouda. This time, Juninho was in to take the free kick and his attempt hit the post after deflecting off Roma midfielder Rodrigo Taddei. Roma captain Francesco Totti sent a free kick high for Roma's first chance in the 10th. In the 12th, Juninho was handed a yellow for taking down David Pizarro from behind. Francois Clerc's shot was almost deflected in by Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi in the 16th. Two minutes later, Pizarro was cautioned for diving inside Lyon's area. De Rossi gave the ball away to Malouda in the 21st and the Frenchman put on a dribbling display before Roma goalkeeper Alexander Doni smothered the ball as he went in on goal. Amantino Mancini set up De Rossi well in the 31st but Lyon goalkeeper Gregory Coupet intercepted the play. Mancini also sent in a long shot in the 39th that was deflected just wide, then picked up a yellow for simulation in the 43rd. Lyon midfielder Tiago had a shot punched away by Doni in the 44th, and France forward Sidney Govou was cautioned for a sliding tackle in the 45th. Yellow cards galore The second half began much like the first - with another yellow card. Jeremy Toulalan was booked for pushing Totti down and will miss the second leg. Italy midfielder Simone Perrotta had a chance in the 53rd but his chip sailed high. Another yellow was handed to Taddei in the 56th for a hard kick to Juninho's leg. A free kick by Totti was punched away by Coupet in the 61st. Doni had a tough time handling a long free kick by Juninho in the 66th but the ball went out of bounds before Lyon could get to the rebound. The first substitution came when Milan Baros replaced Fred in Lyon's attack in the 74th, and Roma's new Sweden midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson came on for Mancini two minutes later. The fresh players did little to change the game's rhythm, though. Totti was handed a yellow in the 82nd for diving and teammates Max Tonetto and De Rossi were also booked in the final minutes. Before the match, a flare was launched toward a small section of Lyon fans as the teams walked onto the field.