Sixty seconds later, Hargreaves found himself through on goal thanks to a fine pass from Giggs. But Doni stood up well and parried the midfielder’s effort out for a corner.
Roma seemed more than a little shell-shocked by United’s high tempo opening, but they fashioned a chance of their own on 14 minutes. Daniele De Rossi slotted a pass into Mirko Vucinic, whose effort, from a tight angle, was well saved by Edwin van der Sar low to his left. Mancini’s follow-up from the edge of the box was also on target but did little to trouble the big Dutchman.
The Reds continued attacking and went close again on 16 minutes. Tevez took Brown’s lofted pass brilliantly on his chest before turning and feeding Hargreaves, again bombing forward on the right. His cross was met by the onrushing Giggs, but the Welshman's drive was beaten away by Doni.
Giggs and Hargreaves combined again soon after, with the Welshman floating a ball over the top to the Reds' no.4, who had fast become United’s newest attacking sensation. This time, a combination of Cassetti and Juan contrived to knock Hargreaves off balance and clear the danger.
Seconds later Hargreaves was involved again. His cross looked to have eluded everyone but the ball found its way to Anderson on the edge of the box who hit it first time. Doni was equal to the task, claiming well just as Tevez and Giggs looked set to pounce.
The main talking point of the opening half arrived on 29 minutes when Roma were awarded a spot-kick. Van der Sar punched Vucinic’s initial effort clear but the ball dropped to Mancini, who burst into the area only to be felled by Wes Brown. The referee had no qualms in pointing to the spot and although Brown appeared to get a touch on the ball, he also clipped Mancini’s back leg.
As De Rossi stepped up to take the penalty, a chorus