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Capello delighted with historic win over former club

© Reuters 2002

MADRID, Oct 30 (Reuters) - AS Roma coach Fabio Capello was full of praise for his side after they dealt Real Madrid a rare defeat on home soil thanks to a coolly-taken Francesco Totti goal at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

"It is really satisfying to win in this great stadium and above all to win in such a convincing manner," the former Real Madrid coach told reporters after the victory - the first by an Italian side at the Bernabeu since Inter Milan won there in 1967.

"We played a very good game and had lots of scoring opportunities, but we didn't quite manage to finish them off. But what pleased me most of all was the fact that we played with great character."

Roma, who fielded an adventurous attacking line-up with Totti, Vincenzo Montella and Marco Delvecchio up front, weathered an early storm of Real attacks and fought back to grab the lead thanks to Totti's 27th minute strike.

Although Real took up the challenge and threw men forward as they went in search of the equaliser, they were unable to prise open the well-organised Roma defence and it was the Italian side who threatened to extend the lead with their quick counter-attacks.

"It was a very open game and we attacked and defended very well," said Capello. "We had clearer scoring chances than Real, but they too had their opportunities and also played a good game."

Capello said Wednesday's victory, which left them needing just a point from their final game at home to AEK Athens, was a more realistic reflection of Roma's capabilities than when Real handed the Italians a 3-0 defeat at the Olympic stadium in September.

"The difference with this match is that we are now physically much stronger," he said. "The first time we met we hadn't even played a single official match and we weren't in such good physical shape as Real, but this time we were able to match them."


Real Madrid coach Vicente del Bosque said he had mixed feelings about the match, and although disappointed at the defeat he was pleased that they had still secured their place in the second phase of the competition.

"We can't be satisfied with the result," he said. "But on the other hand we have qualified and that is something that Roma have yet to do.

"It wasn't easy to find a way past the Roma defence and we lacked precision in front of goal, but the most pleasing part for me was the effort given by all the players."

Del Bosque said his side had found it difficult to break down Roma's defence, but was quick to dismiss any suggestions of a crisis at Real who have managed only one win in their last seven domestic and European games.

"I am not one for excuses, but Raul, Luis Figo and Ronaldo are all playing after time off injured and we are still waiting for them to find that understanding they will get from playing together."

"We certainly aren't as badly off as our recent results may suggest and any talk of a crisis is a massive exaggeration," he added. "A crisis is what Bayern are facing after being knocked out of European competition."

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