Serie A Club of the Round – Roma


Three perfect results in this long Serie A weekend, by Milan, against Cagliari, Juventus, versus Sassuolo, and by Roma in Verona. While the Bianconeri had the toughest opponent, the Giallorossi were the ones that risked less defensively and therefore they are the pick for the club of the week.

They were coming off two draws in Serie A, against Atalanta and Milan. Eusebio Di Francesco did not really rotate the squad despite the upcoming Champions League with Porto and only rested Daniele De Rossi among the projected starters, who however is not quite ready to play twice in a row after a tough knee injury. Robin Olsen and Kostas Manolas were out due to muscular injuries, so Antonio Mirante was between sticks and Ivan Marcano in the back-line. The right chain was confirmed, with Rick Karsdorp behind Patrik Schick and therefore both were preferred to Alessandro Florenzi, while Stephan El Shaarawy was deployed as left winger.

Nicolò Zaniolo was the first one to threaten Stefano Sorrentino with a long-range effort, but the goalie tipped it wide. However, it did not take long for La Lupa to steer the game in her favour: nine minutes in, El Shaarawy beat the two centre-backs on a long header by Stevan N’Zonzi, glided past another opponent and chipped it over Sorrentino that was coming out.

Nine minutes later, Karsdorp charged down the right flank, slid it to Edin Dzeko on the edge of the box, who bamboozled a defender and slotted it home on the far post with a pinpoint left strike from near the baseline. Before the end of the first half, Mirante had his lone save of the game on a long-range attempt by Filip Djordjevic.

The Giallorossi put the match away at the 51st minute, as El Shaarawy scampered on the left on a punt by the goalie, combined with Dzeko, who fed the onrushing Aleksandar Kolarov that smashed it home with a cross-shot from just inside the box.

Roma had few other chances, in particular on shots by Federico Fazio and Dzeko, but could not further pad the score. They also hit the woodwork twice late, first the crossbar with the Bosnian centre-forward, and then the post with El Shaarawy.

A smothering display that resulted in a conspicuous fantasy haul, as Kolarov picked up nine points, followed by Karsdorp, who assisted Dzeko, and Mirante with five, then Dzeko amassed six, Marcano and Fazio five for the clean sheets, N’Zonzi four thanks to an assist and El Shaarawy four for the goal.

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