Stephan El Shaarawy hailed a “special night” after his two goals helped Roma to a 3-0 win over Chelsea at the Stadio Olimpico.
El Shaarawy struck after just 37 seconds in front of 55,000 fans and added another as Chelsea threatened to find a way back into the game.
Diego Perotti’s strike sealed victory and put Roma top of their group ahead of the Londoners.
“It was a special night — one I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” El Shaarawy told the official UEFA website.
“It was a great win — a win with our hearts. We’re very happy. The coach asked us to start really strong and we managed to keep it up for the whole game. We controlled the ball well. It was a perfect game.
“We’re growing, and we’ve got to carry on this way. We’ve got to keep these levels up and give continuity to our results, and not stop.”
Roma are now five points clear of third-placed Atletico Madrid, whom they visit in their next Group C fixture.
A point there would see them through to the knockout stage and El Shaarawy said: “To be honest, when the draw was made we didn’t expect to be where we are now, nor did we really expect to play such a good game in London [a 3-3 draw].
“But we knew we had it in us, and this gives us plenty of self-belief.”
Roma have lost only twice all season and victory in their Serie A game in hand would put them within a point of third-placed Juventus and Lazio.
Coach Eusebio Di Francesco hailed the work of predecessor Luciano Spalleti, saying: “I’ve inherited a great team from Luciano Spalletti, and they deserved a night like this.
“This was a great victory, but it wasn’t mine. It was Roma’s win; Rome’s win, the fans’ win. This win has got to give us belief, but we must not get presumptuous.
“We’re becoming something big, but it’s still early days — but I’m delighted that we’ve gifted this great evening to Rome and to Roma.”
Meanwhile, Giallorossi full-back Alessandro Florenzi backed Chelsea boss Antonio Conte to bounce back, telling Roma TV: “We had some amazing months with him [for Italy].
“He’s one of the best managers around and he remains so, even after today’s defeat.”
He said “so many elements” combined for Roma’s win, adding: “Edin [Dzeko]’s pressing, the outstanding play in midfield… we held out well at the back too. Everyone in the team deserves praise.”
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.